Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Calm After Storm: Capital city gets back to normal life

Be it Vardah, Tsunami, floods, a Chief Minister's death or AIADMK's faction fight, Chennai that witnesses chaos at its peak in every of these events, easily gets back to normal routine just a day after the hubbub comes to an end. The city that was experiencing various kinds of turmoil including traffic rush, media attention and security hikes across it for the past fortnight due to the faction fight in the ruling party AIADMK has turned back to it regular life immediately after the swearing in ceremony of the new council of minister led by Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami.

When I came across the residence of former Chief Minister O Panneerselvam that is located along the Greenways road and was with media attention in its peak till last weekend has now completely faded out of the spotlight, posing like an ordinary government quarters with normal security force. To be noted, the name board that was carrying Panneerselvam's portfolio including finance and public works department has a major make over.

Portfolio possessed by former Chief Minister O Panneerselvam covered with tape. Photo: Santhosh Mathevan

His portfolios have been covered with strips of cellophane tapes thus by showing only his name. Above all, the name board has been removed from his residence 'Thenpennai' and has been placed as one among the other name boards at the gateway of Kanchi government guest houses premises where Thenpennai is situated. The Greenways road, that was filled with an array of OB vans and vehicles of various visual and print media houses is all silent since Sunday (February 19, 2017) morning.

On the other hand, the number of security forces at the entrance of newly sworn in Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami has become a hub of various AIADMK cadre vehicles. Located right next to Kanchi's premises along the Greenways road in Raja Annamalaipuram, the whole scene has been showing off a changeover within several feet in the same road stretch.

Leaving the residences of the former and the present Chief Ministers, the other hot spots in the city during the past fortnight too show a dimmed pose. Poes Garden, where AIADMK's general secretary VK Sasikala was residing until she was imprisoned in Parapana Agrahara prison in Bengaluru was the next location to expose an emptiness. Until Friday (February 17, 2017) when Palaniswami sworn in as Chief Minister, the narrow roads of Poes Garden had a rushing traffic with tight security.

Entrance of Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami's residence in RA Puram. Photo: Santhosh Mathevan

But, the traffic had almost cut to half when Sasikala was imprisoned last week while the left out crowd too disappeared since the new cabinet's swearing in ceremony. However, the four levels of security remains in stand by position in the garden roads. General public and media persons are allowed only till the third level while the residents of Poes Garden only are allowed after security check through the last level. "We have been instructed to maintain the security by our higher officials. They have told us not to revoke any personnel until further notice. So, we are going to stay here only till then", said a security personnel on the conditions of anonymity.

Similarly, the party head quarters of the AIADMK located along the Avvai Shanmugam salai in the city too is under tight security sans party cadre crowd. "It is a normal crowd that visits the office on any day of a year. It seems to be the party office has come back to a normal state after a two week chaos", says a tea shop owner at Avvai Shanmugam salai.

Vacant road of Poes Garden in Chennai. Photo: Santhosh Mathevan

Finally, the most happening spot of last week, the Secretariat that was with full fledged security too has come back to normal page. The high security at the secretariat complex has been pulled down to the ideal level. Usual petitioners and visitors are being allowed inside the premises through normal screening by security personnel.

Apart from these, the tombs of former Chief Ministers J Jayalalithaa and MG Ramachandran that became frequent visiting places (and meditation spot) of both the present and former Chief Ministers, cabinet ministers, party men and AIADMK's general secretary VK Sasikala have been opened to general public with normal levels security posing as if nothing had happened there in the recent past. Surprisingly, Chennai that was in hustle bustle till last weekend due to the faction fight has totally came out of it and is continuing with its routine as it was in the post-Vardah and post-Jayalalithaa demise in past three months.

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