Supporters Celebrate Jayalalithaa's Acquittal Outside Her Residence in Chennai

Supporters outside Jayalalithaa's residence after the Karnataka High Court verdict

Chennai: J Jayalalithaa, former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, is at her Poes Garden residence in Chennai, where hundreds of supporters are now celebrating with news coming in of her acquittal by the Karnataka High Court in a conviction in a corruption case.

Outside her residence people are dancing to drum beats, waving flags and posters of Amma, as Ms Jayalalithaa is lovingly called by  her supporters

Across Tamil Nadu, her AIADMK has organised prayers for a favourable verdict. Women party workers in several parts of the state organised traditional processions with milk pots, lamps were lit and many coconuts offered in temples to pray for "the return of Jayalalithaa as Chief Minister".

She had stepped down as chief minister in September last year after a trial court in Karnataka convicted her on charges of amassing assets disproportionate to her income and sentenced her to four years in prison.

As she went to prison for three weeks, there were violent protests in Tamil Nadu. Supporters wept and swooned and burnt effigies of top leaders of arch rival DMK, which pursued the case against Ms Jayalalithaa for 18 years.

In Bangalore, the police had clamped prohibitory orders in a one km area around the High Court till this evening and stepped up security, anticipating the arrival of thousands of AIADMK supporters from across the state border.

Outside Ms Jayalalithaa's bungalow, top leaders and ministers of the ruling AIADMK are also gathering. All ministers have reportedly been instructed not to leave Chennai today.

With the Karnataka High Court accepting Ms Jayalalithaa's plea to quash her conviction, she can move to take over as chief minister again and importantly, can contest next year's assembly elections.

She had to step down after her conviction in September last year as it immediately disqualified her as a lawmaker. Ms Jayalalithaa had at the time installed as chief minister, loyalist O Paneerselvam, who has in the last eight months not used her office, making it clear he is holding the post for his leader.
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