EC bans airing of footage that ‘may impact’ RK Nagar bye-poll after Jayalalithaa clip goes viral
The video shows someone who appears to be the former chief minister watching television in a hospital bed.
The Election Commission on Wednesday banned the media from airing any video footage that may “directly or indirectly impact” the bye-election in Tamil Nadu’s RK Nagar constituency, ANI reported. This came after a video clip allegedly showing former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on her hospital bed before her death last year was released a day before her constituency’s bye-election.
The clip has not been verified and its authenticity remains unclear. It shows someone who appears to be Jayalalithaa sipping on a drink and watching television in a hospital bed.
The telecast is in violation of the Representation of Peoples Act, an order by the poll monitoring body said.
Legislator P Vetrivel, a supporter of the TTV Dinakaran faction of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, released the clip, ANI reported. Dinakaran is the nephew of Jayalalithaa’s former aide VK Sasikala.
Dinakaran, who was ousted from the party, claimed earlier that former AIADMK General Secretary Sasikala had shot a video in the hospital but that he did not want to release it as it was an invasion of her privacy. He is contesting the bye-election in RK Nagar, which fell vacant after Jayalalithaa died in December 2016. The bye-poll is on Thursday.
Vetrivel told ANI that it was not true that no one met Jayalalithaa in hospital. “We waited for days before releasing it [the video] but released it now as we were left with no option,” he said. “The inquiry commission hasn’t summoned us yet, if it does we’ll submit evidence to them.”
“Her death has been politicised to the lowest level,” Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam Working President MK Stalin said while adding that it will not have any impact on the bye-poll.
There have been contradicting claims on whether party leaders had access to Jayalalithaa when she was in Chennai’s Apollo Hospital in 2016. An inquiry commission, led by Justice A Arumughaswamy, is investigating Jayalalithaa’s death and the circumstances leading up to it.
“We have the video recordings but we didn’t want to degrade her [Jayalalithaa’s] dignity as she was wearing a night dress,” Dinakaran had claimed in September. “My aunt [Sasikala] didn’t permit us to use it except for a judicial probe. She had shot a video of Jayalalithaa watching television.”