Jayalalithaa verdict: What does it mean for Tamil Nadu

The verdict has come as a huge victory for the AIADMK ahead of assembly polls in May 2016

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Shivani Chaturvedi | May 11, 2015 | Chennai


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Celebrations were visible across Tamil Nadu after the Karnataka high court acquitted former Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa and three others in disproportionate assets case. 
 
Top AIADMK leaders made a beeline for Jayalalithaa’s Poes Garden residence in Chennai on Monday morning. The party cadres and supporters of Jayalalithaa congregated at AIADMK office too. They burst fire crackers and distributed sweets seconds after Judge CR Kumaraswamy announced the verdict.

READ:
Jayalalithaa acquitted, back as TN chief minister soon

At the time of writing this report Jayalalithaa was expected to make her first public appearance after her conviction. For the past seven months she had been in self-imposed exile.

Jayalalithaa had stepped down as Tamil Nadu chief minister in September last year after trail court convicted her in corruption charges. With her acquittal in the Rs 66.65 crore disproportionate assets case, Jayalalithaa has come out clean in all the 13 cases against her.

Jayalalithaa’s most trusted aide and Tamil Nadu chief minister O Panneerselvam will quit and make way for Amma (as she is popularly known in Tamil Nadu). Jayalalithaa will soon take charge as Tamil Nadu chief minister. Her swearing in ceremony is likely to be held on May 17. With this she will be the Tamil Nadu CM for the fifth time. However, she needs to contest bypoll in another six months’ time and get elected as MLA.

What it means for political landscape of Tamil Nadu?

 The verdict has come as a huge victory for the AIADMK ahead of assembly polls in May 2016. Political observers say, in Tamil Nadu presently momentum is with AIADMK and the party would certainly want to capitalise on public mood. The party will now garner votes as the leader is cleared of corruption charges. Jayalalithaa will also work on alliance possibility. Chennai-based political analyst Gnani Sankaran speaking to Governance Now says, “There is not an iota of doubt regarding AIADMK and BJP taking this verdict as an opportunity to come closer. AIADMK needs BJP as much as BJP needs AIADMK. Jayalalithaa needs judiciary right now and BJP knows that it cannot win alone in Tamil Nadu, he adds. At the same time if the two go for an alliance, Jayalalithaa would bargain very hard, is what feel a few observers.”

Others say that it is early to comment on alliance possibility between AIADMK and BJP as Jayalalithaa has been very unpredictable.    

For the AIADMK’s arch-rival DMK and other political opponents the verdict has come as a massive blow. DMK already has 2G case pending against it. 

 For Jayalalithaa a similar acquittal took place 13 years back in TANSI land deal cases. In September 2001, Jayalalithaa faced a two-year conviction in a corruption case and had to step down after the supreme court set aside her appointment as CM. She installed Panneerselvam as the chief minister till March 2002 after she was acquitted of the charges by the Madras high court. Jayalalithaa could not also contest assembly elections owing to disqualification and had to contest a by-election later.
 

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