Confirming this, top party sources said Jayalalithaa was likely to take over as Chief Minister on April 17. As Jayalalithaa did not meet or discuss her plans with any ministerial colleagues on Monday, and is unlikely to do so tomorrow too, the actual date may only be confirmed on Wednesday.
While the assembly elections are due next year, sources said the party may seek early polls — at least six months in advance. Political observers said if the polls are held in September-October this year, it would affect the DMK, as that is the time they expect a final court order in the 2G scam in which senior leaders M Kanimozhi and A Raja have been accused.
A senior AIADMK leader said Jayalalithaa has already outlined plans for her return. “She will have to return in style, isn’t it?” he said. According to him, all top police posts will be restructured. “She will flag off about 1,000 new government transport buses which are ready for operation. If the Chennai Metro has cleared all procedures, she may commission the first stage immediately. We have also been told that the date of the Global Investors Meet may be advanced from September to the last week of June or July, as it could clash with early poll preparations,” he said.
Meanwhile, DMK leaders including M K Stalin, A Raja and T R Baalu met party chief M Karunanidhi at his residence on Monday morning. The court order came as a shock for them, hitting their dreams of rebuilding the party.
Jayalalithaa’s acquittal also sparked speculation of a “secret alliance” between the BJP and AIADMK for the polls. “We will have to wait and see the possibility of such a secret deal. Jayalalithaa is back with a bang. It is almost confirmed that she will be the CM after the next assembly polls,” said C Lakshmanan, faculty of the Madras Institute of Development Studies. “The reality of DMK is that its enemies are mostly within the party… It is unlikely that the DMK can beat AIADMK anytime soon. The worst victim will be the PMK, as it cannot join the DMK or AIADMK camps, and has damaged its ties with NDA,” he added.