AIADMK workers burst firecrackers, exchanged sweets and danced on the roads in Tamil Nadu on Friday to celebrate the imminent release of J Jayalalithaa from a Karnataka prison as the Supreme Court granted her bail.
The party’s 43rd founding day ceremony at its headquarters in Chennai was muted at first but soon gave way to cheers and revelry as the cadre followed news updates on television sets and cellphones.
Similar scenes were witnessed outside Jayalalithaa’s Poes Garden residence in the city and also in Madurai, Salem, Coimbatore and Erode.
“Today is real Diwali for us,” said former finance minister and senior AIADMK leader C Ponnaiyan.
The celebrations were loud but with a touch of restraint as the SC asked Jayalalithaa to ensure there was no violence in the state.
While the cadre expressed their joy, chief minister O Panneerselvam and many of his cabinet colleagues left for Bengaluru to welcome their party chief when she stepped out of jail.
The AIADMK supremo, a worker said, had issued a statement from jail, asking supporters and the people of Tamil Nadu to maintain calm and not give anyone a reason to complain.
Party workers held special prayers in temples across the state, many tonsured their heads and some committed suicide after Jayalalithaa, called Amma by her supporters, was sent to jail last month.
Jayalalithaa, a former popular movie star, has tightened her grip on the voters in Tamil Nadu, having initiated a number of reforms, including nutritious lunch programmes, health facilities for girls and centralised distribution of drugs and medical supplies.