Governor of Tamil Nadu, C Vidyasagar Rao, on Tuesday reallocated Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa’s portfolios, handing them over to Finance Minister O Panneerselvam. Among the portfolios Jayalalithaa handles are public works and home affairs. The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhgam leader has been in hospital since September 22. The decision reportedly followed instructions from the chief minister. Panneerselvam will also preside over Cabinet meetings in the state.
Apollo Hospital, where the chief minister was admitted for fever and dehydration, had said on Monday that she was recovering gradually, and that she remains on respiratory support. Its statement said she was being constantly monitored by “intensivists and other consultants in the expert panel”, while being given antibiotics, nutrition, supportive therapy and passive physiotherapy.
The AIADMK has maintained that the chief minister is recovering, amid rumours that she is critically ill. The party even launched a social media campaign on Monday to combat speculation about her health. Chennai Police on Monday had arrested two people for allegedly circulating rumours about her health on social media. There have been 43 cases filed in the city so far for misreporting on the leader’s condition.
Several leaders including Opposition leader MK Stalin have visited Apollo Hospital in Chennai in an attempt to meet the AIADMK chief. However, speculation about her health continues. On Monday, expelled AIADMK member Sasikala Puspa demanded an investigation into Jayalalithaa’s illness. She said, “It should be found out that whether she fell sick naturally and or was forced to become sick,” according to PTI. She alleged that the chief minister’s aide Sasikala Natarajan was controlling administration in the state, and demanded an inquiry into her income and properties.
The chief minister's health has been a major concern for the state, as rumours circulate that her condition has deteriorated significantly, even though the party has maintained that she is recovering. Mass prayer sessions, seeking divine intervention for the chief minister's speedy recovery, are being held across the state. Her illness comes as the state is embroiled in the Cauvery water-sharing dispute with Karnataka.