The security forces were withdrawn around 8:00 pm and the last of the Outdoor Broadcast vans left by 10:00 pm. The only ones who remained near the Parappana Agrahara central prison, where Jayalalithaa was lodged, were hundreds of her distraught supporters.
They were sitting with their heads in their hands on the siding of the long road leading to the Parappana Agrahara central jail where their leader was spending the first night of her four year prison term on Saturday.
The disarray that AIDMK had plunged into after the arrest of the party's only leader was painfully evident. Ministers, MLAs, Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha MPs were suddenly reduced to ordinary men and women. They huddled around in little groups on that pavement, gratefully eating puffed rice packets that were being passed around.
"Tanni...Tanni (water)," one parched voice rang out. It belonged to V Maitreyan, one of the party's senior most Rajya Sabha members. A senior woman minister complained, "We have not eaten anything since morning." They had arrived at around 8 am.
When HT approached some of the ministers for their reaction to the verdict, they pleaded anonymity. An old rule in the AIADMK is that nobody but Jayalalithaa speaks to the media, explained one journalist with experience in reporting from Tamil Nadu.
Soon, the jail authorities tired of their presence and they we're chased away from the spot with the help of the police. As they dispersed into the inky darkness, somebody shouted, "(DMK chief) Karunanidhi and (BJP leader) Subramaniam Swamy will rot in hell." The others joined in wearily.