Finally, after a long time, Tamil Nadu’s former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa spent her first night in Bangalore Central jail after being convicted in 18-year-old disproportionate case by a special court on Saturday. This is the day the Chennai city had been waiting for with bated breath. When it finally came, Chennai was left bruised, battered and licking the wounds caused by nearly half a day of violence and picketing. It was the worst time for the city. With rank speculation and rumours fuelled in good measure by social media, spreading like wildfire, conflicting emotions played out during the early part of the day. First, there was the ‘not guilty’ phase, when AIADMK party men distributed sweets and burst crackers a month ahead of Deepavali, and the DMK party cadre sulked. Then, with rumours of conviction, the camp that was joyful hitherto sunk into gloom and the other party celebrated.
After the verdict, Jayalalithaa has been disqualified as the member of the Tamil Nadu Assembly and has to resign from her post as the chief minister of the state. Jayalalithaa has been allotted the VVIP Cell number 23 in the Central Prison at Parappana Agrahara. She has been given prisoner number 7402, her cell is located next to the women’s barrack. The occupants are entitled to a bed, fan and separate bathroom facility. Jayalalithaa was provided with a white sari as a convict. Others convicted in the case Sasikala, Ilavarsi and Sudhakaran were given prisoner numbers 7403 and 7404 and 7405 respectively. While Sasikala and Ilavarasi were assigned a cell, where as Sudhakaran, who was convicted in the murder of a software engineer is lodged in a VIP cell next to former Karnataka Tourism Minister and mining baron G Janardhana Reddy. Jayalalithaa is the first occupant of the VVIP cell in the high security Central Prison. The Central Prison has two VVIP prisons cells that are categorised as high security zones while the prison also has five VIP cells that have been used to lodge former Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, former Ministers G. Janardhan Reddy and S.N. Krishnaiah Shetty.
Jayalalithaa has more consideration now than on earlier occasions. People believe in that Karunanidhi is more corrupt than anyone else in India. Other political leaders are equally bad be it Vijayakanth, Ramadoss or Vaiko. And no one has the organisational control as she has. While everyone has accepted domination of Delhi, she is rightly fighting States Rights. BJP in Tamil Nadu is following the footsteps of Congress in deciding local leadership. They lobby at Delhi to get party positions. Congress has no one in Tamil Nadu. DMK, though talk about self-respect, never ascertained barring a few occasions where they ascertained to get good cabinet berths. She was firm in establishing States rights on many issues. She actually may not be the loser but Tamil Nadu definitely is a loser at this juncture. Everyone is aware that most TN politicians are corrupt, but it has taken the system eighteen long years to catch a big fish.
DMK’s corruption history is legendary not just in Tamil Nadu but as a coalition partner to Congress led UPA at the Centre. It is therefore strange to see that the AIADMK is the first one caught in the legal whirlpool. One hopes that cleaning up of politics will continue like this and the culprit will be behind the bars. Even then one doubts if the voters in Tamil Nadu will look beyond their parochial and chauvinistic political parties of the State which they have been alternating for the last five decades.
Indeed, she has neglected the insinuations of her pending cases which resulted in the party now being orphaned. Aspiring politicians like Vaiko, Ramadoss, Vijayakant, Seeman, Velmurugan, Tamilaruvi can help maintain the tempo and euphoria created by her to preserve and promote the interests of the Tamils and Tamil Nadu. There is little scope either for the DMK or the BJP to take advantage of the situation as both have proved themselves incapable of protecting the interests of the State as she did. Of course, it is a setback for the Tamils here and abroad. The quality and quantum of Justice delivered in her case should be equally and liberally applied to all tainted politicians who are roaming freely and it should not be a case of vengeance. Nobody can doubt the seriousness with which she had set upon the cleaning of the administration, though with some political vendetta like actions. Nobody can deny the results she has shown since coming to power. The judiciary has to bear this aspect in mind when hearing her appeal and also taking into consideration the alternative TN as a state will have to face in case she has to be politically absent for a protracted period.
Anyways, she will approach Karnataka High Court to seek bail. To propose the name for the next chief minister of the state, AIADMK held meeting in Chennai. Some of the names of Jayalalithaa’s cabinet ministers including O Panneerselvam, Natham Viswanathan and V Senthil Balaji besides former Chief Secretary and Advisor to Tamil Nadu government, Sheela Balakrishnan were doing the rounds for the top post. However, in the evening, O Panneerselvam was appointed by the AIADMK to succeed Jayalalithaa. The conviction of a CM has happened in the same old fashion of arresting criminals during weekends so that they are forced to go to jail till the courts resume. This means the government has instructed the courts to handle it this way. Anyways, like many other leaders Jayalalithaa too will be back using loopholes in our judiciary and will pull out the roots of enemies.