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Flock erupts with joy, Jaya just thanks god

Chennai, Nov. 24: Her supporters said it was a win for their chief. Jayalalithaa just thanked god.

“It is all god’s will. Thanks be to god, that’s all,” she told the crowd that had gathered at her Poes Garden residence an hour-and-a-half after the Supreme Court cleared the Tamil Nadu chief minister of corruption charges in the Tansi land cases.

After the verdict, Jayalalithaa, dressed in her favourite green sari and accompanied by her friend Sasikala, had driven to an ancient Shiva temple in Thiruvottriyur. Legend has it that the Adi Shankara, the founder of the Advaita system of philosophy, had once worshipped at this temple on the outskirts of north Chennai and tried to put an end to the practice of animal sacrifices there.

“At the moment, I can only think of one thing to say — thanks be to god. Trials and tribulations are part of one’s life and I have faced many trials and tribulations,” she said on her return.

Her party workers burst crackers and distributed chocolates and laddoos. The fog of gloom that hung heavy over the ADMK headquarters had lifted and the jubilant crowd of men and women seemed dizzy with relief.

It is a “triumph of justice, a victory for dharma and a win for Amma”, they cried, secure in the knowledge that their leader would not have to bow out of office for the second time in less than three years. It would have meant another spell of proxy rule.

Last night, there was considerable speculation in political circles here as to who would be made chief minister if Jayalalithaa had to quit.

While party MLAs and MPs had been summoned to be present in Chennai this morning, the names of public works minister . Panneerselvam, law minister D. Jayakumar and electricity minister Nianar Nagendran were doing the rounds as they are considered “most loyal to Amma”.

Today, state ministers led by Panneerselvam, who stood in for Jayalalithaa the last time she had to step down, finance minister C. Ponnaiyan and Assembly Speaker K. Kalimuthu were among those who called on the chief minister and greeted her with bouquets.

“Amma has never run away from any of the cases. Time and again she has proved that the cases were foisted on her, and today’s verdict of the Supreme Court again vindicates this position of hers,” said party MP Maithreyan.

A section of the party’s workers raised slogans condemning DMK chief M. Karunanidhi.

The former chief minister’s Gopalapuram residence is not far away from Poes Gardens, but the atmosphere there could not have been more different. Karunanidhi’s nephew and senior party leader Murasoli Maran died last night after a long illness.

Jayalalithaa refused to say much. She said her troubles were far from over and declined to comment on the Supreme Court’s order transferring the two wealth cases against her to a special court in Karnataka.

But to another question, she said that if necessary, she would depose before the court on specific summons. Some of Jayalalithaa’s staunch supporters like Dravidar Kazhagam general secretary K. Veeramani were quick to applaud the verdict and her “courage”.

Describing the ruling as “historic”, Veeramani said “the dream of those who tried to usurp power in the state through short-cut methods has now been shattered”.

“Jayalalithaa, who is known to swim against the current, has successfully come out,” he added. State BJP president C.P. Radhakrishnan also welcomed the ruling.

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