Senior AIADMK leader C Ponnaiyan said on Wednesday Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa was making good progress and there is absolutely no cause for any concern.
“Amma has begun talking to people. She spoke to Dr Richard Beale from England and thanked him for taking good care of her,” Ponnaiyan told Hindustan Times.
Jayalalithaa may need to spend 10 more days in the hospital and later a fortnight of bed rest, the AIADMK leader said adding that he was in regular touch with Dr Beale.
“She has had a lung infection and because of that she had breathing trouble as well. That is why she was being given respiratory support, which is a normal medical procedure. She has responded very well to the treatment,” he added.
The AIADMK chief was admitted to Chennai’s Apollo Hospital with high fever and dehydration on September 22 but news of her treatment has been tightly controlled with cryptic health bulletins adding to the many rumours flying around.
The last bulletin on Jayalalithaa’s health condition was issued on October 10 by the hospital and was endorsed by the state government that distributed it through its official news dissemination machinery, the DIPR.
In its earlier bulletins, all that the hospital said was Jayalalithaa was responding well to treatment and in the last bulletin it informed that the CM was being constantly monitored and was under observation. Even after 9 days, the Apollo Hospital and state government have maintained silence about the CM’s health.
The former finance minister said that nothing much should be read into the absence of health updates from Apollo Hospital.
“The hospital is very annoyed with criticism that its health bulletins were contradictory and short on facts. These allegations were made by opposition DMK,” Ponnaian said.
The DMK, however, rejected the ruling party’s contention and asserted that it had neither criticised the Apollo Hospital nor the content of its health bulletins.
“We only wanted an interim arrangement in place to handle the state and also that the state administration was smooth and governance continued unhindered,” DMK spokesperson Manu Sundaram said.
The DMK has also not questioned the silence of the Apollo Hospital on Jayalalithaa’s health condition or its inability to come out with her health bulletin, said Sundaram.
“It is the prerogative of the hospital authorities to divulge what they can and want to,” he added.
The DMK spokesperson said his party is certainly very concerned about the manner in which people were being arrested for alleged “rumour mongering”.
Ponnaian justified the government’s decision to arrest people. “We cannot have anyone spreading false information about Amma’s health, at any cost.”
Human rights activist, however, beg to differ.
Sudha Ramalingam said it was atrocious that people were being arrested for even speaking about the condition of the chief minister, referring to the arrest of two bank employees in Coimbatore, who were picked up for spreading rumours about her health in front of an AIADMK local leader.
“The health condition of the chief minister is a matter of public concern and the government ought to come out with specific information so that there is no scope for rumours,” Ramalingam, who is also a lawyer, said.