Tamil Nadu is facing an unprecedented political crisis which could have devastating effects on the State government, governance and bureaucracy. A panel of expert doctors attending to Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa who is undergoing treatment at Apollo Hospitals in Chennai since September 22 has ruled that she would have to stay in the hospital for a longer period. While the doctors are silent about the duration of the chief minister’s stay in the hospital, a carefully worded release issued by Subbiah Viswanathan, Chief Operating Officer, indirectly hints that Jayalalithaa is in a serious medical condition.
The release opens with the statement that Jayalalithaa who is undergoing treatment at Apollo Hospital continues to improve and is making gradual progress. “The comprehensive treatment plan including appropriate antibiotics, respiratory support and other allied clinical measures are being continued. The chief minister is under observation of a panel of doctors consisting of intensivists, cardiologists, respiratory physicians, infectious disease specialists and diabetologists. Detailed lab and radiology investigations are continuously carried out by the panel of doctors,” said the release.
It further reveals the names of the three experts drawn out from All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi who are attending to the chief minister since Wednesday evening. Dr Richard John Beale, an international specialist and intensivist from London who was flown in to Chennai for examining and evaluating the chief minister on September 30, returned to Chennai again on Thursday and examined her.
“Based on the detailed deliberations and clinical examination, the expert group of doctors from Apollo Hospitals have drawn up a medical management plan keeping in view the chief minister’s known history of diabetes and winter bronchitis in inclement weather. The present treatment regimen includes continued respiratory support, nebulisation, drugs to decongest the lungs, antibiotics, nutrition, general nursing care and supportive therapy,” said the release. The release concludes with the comment that the consensus of opinion of all the experts is that the chief minister will require a longer stay in the hospital.
Though the release is silent about the exact duration of the chief minister’s stay in the hospital , the description of the treatment advised by the panel of experts prove that Jayalalithaa may have to stay for many months in the hospital which substantiates the reports going all around that she is on a life support system. The first release issued by the management of Apollo Hospital on September 23 had stated that Jayalalithaa was admitted to the hospital on September 22 because of fever and dehydration. “Treatment was commenced immediately and by the very next day fever was brought under control. The chief minister resumed regular diet and is under observation since then,” said the release.
The hospital management in a press meet on September 25 denied rumours and conjectures circulated falsely in the social media about the chief minister’s health condition and also termed totally false and baseless the reports that she was being taken abroad for treatment. “The chief minister is responding well to the treatment and continues to get better. She will be discharged from the hospital in a few days and will soon resume her normal official duties,” said s Viswanathan, COO.
Since then there has been a deterioration in the health of Jayalalithaa and there are reports that she is under life support system. The Chennai media is afraid to write anything which is not to the liking of Jayalalithaa or her immediate associates lest they would be hauled up to the court by slapping criminal defamation cases.
The report is that with Jayalalithaa lying unconscious in the hospital, it is a coterie led by Sasikala Natarajan which is calling the shots in Tamil Nadu. Even the ministers in Jayalalithaa’s cabinet are not allowed to see her. It is a pathetic sight to see the members of the council of ministers in the Jayalalithaa cabinet coming to the Apollo Hospitals everyday morning and standing outside the main gate with the hope of getting a call from the Chinnamma (as Sasikala is known). The only outsider who is allowed anywhere near the ward where Jayalalithaa is undergoing treatment is Sheela Balakrishnan, the former chief secretary, who has been appointed as the Chief Minister’s private secretary following her superannuation from the IAS. It is the 62-year-old Balakrishnan who supervises the state administration in the absence of the chief minister.
With the release issued on Thursday by the hospital management, there is a strong possibility of the Sasikala gang shifting Jayalalithaa to either Veda Nilayam or to the farm house in Old Mahabalipuram Road, says people who are privy to the goings in the Sasikala camp. Old timers point out how the AIADMK managed with a physically and mentally incapacitated MG Ramachandran from 1984 to 1987. MGR, who had a paralytic stroke much before the 1984 assembly election had to be admitted to a hospital in the USA. The AIADMK won the 1984 assembly election because of the sympathy generated by the hospitalisation of MGR.
But things have changed and it may not be easy for the Sasikala gang to hoodwink the public and the Centre about the medical condition of Jayalalithaa. Dr Subramanian Swamy, senior BJP leader, had said in a tweet immediately after the hospital authorities releasing the medical bulletin of the chief minister that there was a defacto President’s rule in Tamil Nadu which was illegal. “Sheela Balakrishnan and Ramanujam, the former DGP are running the administration,” said Dr Swamy. He wanted the Centre to consider dejure President’s rule in Tamil Nadu for six months so that Jayalalithaa can undergo full medical treatment. The law and order situation in the State is in bad shape,” tweeted Dr Swamy.
Centre should consider dejure President's Rule in TN for 6 months so that JJ can undergo full medical treatment. Law& Order is in bad shape
— Subramanian Swamy (@Swamy39) October 6, 2016
PM should ask HM Rajnathji to make a visit to Chennai to assess if report that ISIS sleepers from Kerala and East Sri Lanka have entered TN
— Subramanian Swamy (@Swamy39) October 6, 2016
Meanwhile there are reports that the DMK is trying to destabilise the AIADMK government. “They are in talks with the AIADMK legislators who have expressed their desire to cross over to the DMK camp. If some 35 MLAs decide to resign from the House, the AIADMK government is in for a major trouble. Karunanidhi, the 93 year old president of the DMK is a man in a hurry. “He wants to become the chief minister at the earliest so that when he dies he could be interned somewhere in the Marina Beach close to Annadurai and MGR, who have their memorials there,” said a senior DMK leader.