With Jayalalithaa In Hospital, Governor Asks How Calls Are Being Made
CHENNAI: With doctors indicating that Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa’s stay in hospital will be a lengthy one, the pressure on her party to name a stand-in is surging.
Governor Vidyasagar Rao met on Friday evening with the top bureaucrat, the state’s Chief Secretary, and two senior ministers including O Panneerselvam and E K Palanisamy. Mr Panneerselvam replaced Ms Jayalalithaa when she was arrested on corruption charges in 2014. She returned to office after being acquitted nine months later.
Governor Rao asked sought details about Ms Jayalalithaa’s health, the “general administration of Tamil Nadu”, and the arrangements being made for a crucial visit by experts assigned to decide a water dispute betweeven the state and neighbouring Karnataka, said sources. Governor Rao was reportedly informed that decisions are being taken “on a day to day basis”.
Meanwhile, opposition DMK treasurer M K Stalin called for the appointment of a deputy or an interim Chief Minister for the state.
Governor Vidyasagar Rao (centre) met the state’s Chief Secretary (right), along with two senior ministers. Wishing Ms Jayalalithaa a quick recovery, the Mr Stalin said, “A senior minister can take charge to resolve the crucial Cauvery crisis and other issues. This is our stand.”
The Governor’s consult comes the day after doctors attending to the 68-year-old said she is on respiratory support and has been advised to remain at Apollo Hospital. Two days ago, a team of doctors from Delhi’s premier AIIMS hospital joined a UK specialist in supervising Ms Jayalalithaa’s care.
Ms Jayalalithaa was admitted on September 22. Her party, the AIADMK, said she was being treated for fever and dehydration and has refuted talk of serious medical concerns, filing four police cases against people who misreported her condition on social media.
But its announcements of her returning home soon have been cancelled out repeatedly by doctors, doing little to dispel the talk that the AIADMK is not being straight up about its chief’s health matters.
The former movie star who is one of the country’s most powerful and popular politicians, was visited by Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi today, who said she is “recovering well” though he did not get to meet her.
Yesterday, the Madras High Court ruled that the government does not need to make a formal statement on the Chief Minister’s health or choose a replacement till she returns to work.