Jaya to stay in jail till Oct 7, followers blame all 'opponents'

Former chief minister’s supporters blame the DMK, BJP, and even Karnataka, for their leader’s plight


Shivani Chaturvedi | October 1, 2014 | Chennai

After much dilly-dallying on September 30 and October 1, a vacation bench of Karnataka high court decided that Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa will at least spend five more days in jail. The courts being closed for Dussehra and Bakr-Id break, her bail plea will now be heard on October 7, by a regular bench.

Protesting the court’s adjournment of the former CM’s bail plea hearing, her lawyers sat on a dharna outside the Karnataka High court on Wednesday.

Earlier, a miffed Amma showed her anger by refusing to meet her protégé, who is now chief minister, O Panneerselvam. Reports said she refused to meet her other high-profile visitors too on Tuesday.

The state, meanwhile, continued to be besieged by her loyalists, who have been protesting her September 27 conviction and sentencing in the 18-year-old disproportionate wealth case. Emotions are running high, political colour is being added to the legal battle and every person on the street has an opinion and analysis to offer on events leading up to Amma’s conviction.

From the DMK to BJP, to even Karnataka, blame was fixed on one or the other for Amma’s plight behind the bars. “Amma has fought for Cauvery waters so Karnataka has nailed her in this case,” said S Suresh who has a tea stall near Madras University. Suresh's wife Kala, however, quickly added that justice seemed to have finally caught up with Jayalalithaa. "The people (of the state) are unnecessarily going crazy holding protests," she said.

Narayanan, a student from Madras University, holds Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) responsible for “engineering” the case. Narayanan got a glimpse of Kollywood (as the Chennai film industry, named after the metropolis' neighbourhood Kodambakkam, is called) celebrities at the Chepauk state guest house in the city where members of the film industry participated in a fast on September 30 to protest Jayalalithaa's conviction. He firmly believes that because of his proximity with prime minister Narendra Modi, actor Rajinikanth had kept away from the protests. “The BJP is trying to take full advantage of the situation. They certainly sense a potential in the moment,” he said.

Reports, however, suggested that Rajinikanth was away in Bangalore so he couldn’t take part in the protest. Even actor Kamal Haasan chose not to participate. 

C Lakshmanan, who teaches at the Madras Institute of Development Studies, said the BJP wouldn’t want to miss the opportunity. “They (BJP leaders) see it as an occasion to strike in the state. But the way things are going and people are reacting could again strengthen the ruling AIADMK only.”

A Chennai resident who now teaches at an Australian university, had another take. “I heard on Tamil news here about this and I am not sure why I felt sorry --- awkwardly and miserably sorry --- for JJ (Jayalalithaa). I am aware of the corruption practices she has been involved (in). Nor I am a sympathiser of JJ. The thought that repeatedly crossed my mind was why not MK (M Karunanidhi) and the MK family? All of MK scions are corrupt --- far more corrupt than her --- and what about those corruption stalwarts in other parts of the county, I wondered. Anyway, I am glad in one sense that some lesson (a possible element of fear?) could have germinated in (the minds of) these ghastly politicians of Chennai and elsewhere,” wrote the professor in an email.

The AIADMK arch-rival, the DMK has not come out openly with its views. DMK chief M Karunanidhi has maintained complete silence over the issue. The only reference to the verdict came in a tweet by DMK leader MK Stalin on the day of Jayalalithaa’s conviction. “This verdict shows that howsoever high we may be, the law is above us. The law has taken its course and truth has triumphed.”



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