Post-Jaya conviction: TN govt back on track after brief lull

Chennai:After almost ten days of lull following the imprisonment of ruling AIADMK supremo Jayalalithaa in a wealth case, the state secretariat was today abuzz with a flurry of review meetings by Chief Minister O Panneerselvam and his cabinet colleagues.

Although, Jayalalithaa’s confidant Panneerselvam assumed office as the chief minister on September 29, just two days after her conviction by a Bangalore court which awarded four- year jail term to her, there was a perceptible lull in government business since then.

While the swearing-in of the Panneerselvam cabinet reflected the mood in the ruling party with the chief minister and other ministers breaking down during the oath taking, subsequent days saw minister after minister participating in a series of all-faith prayers meetings and AIADMK MLAs in silent hunger strikes across the state seeking their leader’s early release.

On October 7, after the Karnataka High Court denied bail for Jayalalithaa, the already sombre mood in the ruling camp turned gloomier.

Sensing the mood, Panneerselvam the same day commented on the law and order situation for the first time since the protests bro e out and appealed for calm.

He assured AIADMK cadre that their leader would emerge victorious eventually.

He also appealed to them to shun protests saying rival parties were out to gain political mileage by giving a wrong perception on the law and order front.

Immediately after his appeal, protests ceased completely and government business picked up pace.

Today, Paneerelvam chaired a meeting in which his cabinet colleagues Natham R Viswanathan, R Vaithilingam, and Edapaddi K Palanisamy participated besides top officials.

Handlooms and Textile Minister S Gokula Indira, Rural Industries Minister P Mohan, Cooperation Minister Sellur K Raju, Social Welfare Minister B Valarmathi were among the ministers who held review meetings of their departments, official sources said.

Yesterday, Health Minister C Vijaya Baskar made a surprise inspection at the Government Rajiv Gandhi Hosptial and visited wards to see if the patients were provided proper treatment.

However, the portraits of Jayalalithaa could still be seen in government departments and the chambers of ministers prompting the opposition parties to demand their removal as she is no longer the chief minister.

The ruling party functionaries are amused by the demand. “What is wrong in having the portrait of our leader? We have the photos of Anna and other leaders in government offices.

Are they now chief ministers?,” an AIADMK leader said
requesting anonymity.

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