Thursday, 20 April 2017

Garden turns desert post political dramas

Until a month back, it was Chennai's Poes Garden that was with high media and public attention due to all political dramas occurring in the State. The tiny road stretch which is hardly half a kilometer long was the news making spot for whole of the State. But, the scenario has completely went upside down within a fortnight and especially in the past three days, Poes Garden has almost gone into a deep sleep posing a deserted look.

The deserted view of Poes Garden
When I visited the neighbourhood of former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa's residence at Poes Garden today, I could see that the locality which used to be under the surveillance of a five level security guards is completely open to commuters. The default pose of security personnel holding weapons, those signal jammer, barricades, metal detectors and all other security equipment were found missing except for a dozen of police personnel who were roaming in the streets.

Earlier, it would not be a mammoth task after a number of security checks to reach the gateway of Veda Nilayam, residence of Jayalalithaa. But now, only two private security guards are deployed that too at the entrance of Veda Nilayam.

When I started conversing with one of the private security personnel at the entrance of Jayalalithaa's residence, he said out of frustration, "Not like the earlier times, but  now the security has been brought down completely for this area. It would be like a festival in those times but now its not like that". However, he further said that the residence of their Amma is still protected with at least a handful of security personnel.

Despite his friendly nature, the security personnel did not allow me to click a picture of the entrance of Veda Nilayam which I had to do without his knowledge hiding behind the power junction box.

Captured the entrance of Veda Nilayam hiding behind TNEB transfomer as I was not allowed to take the picture 

When asked how frequent these delegates, MLAs and ministers visit the place, the security personnel said, "Yes, a lot of ministers and MLAs come here often and walk into the residence of Amma. They feel this as a temple of their political career".

However, it seemed to be an exaggerated version of the security personnel regarding the visit of any MLA or minister. One of the shop owners in Poes Garden (to whom I did not reveal myself as a journalist) said, "We are open throughout the daytime and the most part of evening everyday. From my shop it would be clearly visible for us and as far as to our knowledge, we have not seen any car entering there. Only one or two cars would come here that too on very rare instances".

He told me that, Poes Garden lost its buzzing scenarios much earlier that no one is interested to visit the place after the death of Jayalalithaa. "Even until VK Sasikala was convicted, there were some gatherings and cadre groups, but after that, the place lost its true identity", the shop owner expressed in a sad note. "These political cadres are so opportunistic that they have ignored this place completely once it lost its worth", the shop keeper added.

While, according to one of the police personnel deployed for security at Poes Garden, only the maids, cooks, gardeners and servants are allowed inside Veda Nilayam and no one is residing there at present.

AIADMK headquarters posing like a desert

Meanwhile, the status of AIADMK headquarters is still worse. Not even 10 cadres of this 1.5 crore membered party were there. And I could not find even a single person to answer my queries except for the party's founder MG Ramachandran who was standing as statue in the premises.

- Santhosh Mathevan
Chennai, April 20, 2017.

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