India: Tamil Nadu Opposition Parties Demand White Paper – OpEd


Ruling AIADMK (All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam) is passing through a difficult phase of existence after the sudden death of its iron leader CM Jayalalithaa who worked hard to rebuild the party after the death her mentor and former CM MGR, the founder of AIADMK. .

Soon after the cremation of former Tamil Nadu CM Selvi J. Jayalalithaa, media reported suspicions among some sections of people about the sudden demise of her. Aspersions are being cast on the prolongation of treatment period and absence of details about the treatment to the public. Sensing danger to the unity of the ruling AIADMK, ministers and MPs, among top leaders began naming Jayalalithaa’s close friend Sasikala as the next general secretary of the party and requesting her to take over the party leadership to keep the party together. AIADMK leaders are keen to r avoid repetition of the split of the party as it had happened after the death of AIADMK founder and then CM M.G. Ramachandran.

In 1987, when her husband M. G. Ramachandran died, Janaki was asked by party members, who opposed Jayalalithaa, to take his place. She took his place as the leader of the AIADMK party, which subsequently split into two factions. Janaki Ramachandran became Chief Minister in January 1988 soon after her husband’s death, but her government lasted only 24 days, the shortest in the history of Tamil Nadu. Her ministry won the vote of confidence of the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly in January 1988 but the Central Government under the late Rajiv Gandhi used Article 356 of the Constitution of India to dismiss her government in February the same year. Her party was subsequently defeated in the next elections that were held in 1989. She quit politics after the unification of the two factions of the AIADMK under Jayalalithaa.

After a long struggle Jayalalithaa faction won the battle with MGR’s wife actress Janaki who became Tamil Nadu CM to take over the government left behind by MGR. However, in the next assembly election Janaki and her faction lost election winning just one seat while Jayalalithaa, though also lost, won 28 seats. DMK won the election and formed the government by making use of the vertical split in the AIADMK.

Now the leaders of AIADMK does not want a similar split to destroy the party because even Sasikala could be used by DMK or BJP or both to split the party. This anxiety is the reason why the leaders in AIADMK are in a haste to make Sasikala to leaded the party and ministers, MLAs, MPs, etc. Already photos and video clips have appeared in the media showing how the ministers are standing in a queue before Sasikala (chinnamma-sister of mother) in a worship fashion as they had done it before their Amma (Jaya).

Obviously the doubts being expressed in media about the death of former Chief Minister have upset and made the ruling party leaders to be alert.

As controversy surrounds over the death of J Jayalalalithaa, opposition DMK and PMK demanded a ‘white paper’ on the medical treatment given to the leader as they said “there were apprehensions among the public and party supporters on the matter.”

DMK Treasurer and Opposition Leader MK Stalin and PMK founder S Ramadoss made demands in this regard. “The Tamil Nadu government should release a white paper on the treatment given to former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa. Since AIIMS doctors had also treated her, the treatment details should be informed to public by the Centre,” Stalin said. He added that neither he nor his party wanted to “politicize” the matter. “Jayalalithaa was not on an ordinary person but the Chief Minister. Even during her hospitalization, parties including DMK sought publicizing of information on her treatment,” he told reporters.

Stalin recalled that in the past when former chief ministers like late CN Annadurai and MG Ramachandran, were hospitalised, the then Health ministers in the respective cabinets used to come up with periodic updates on their health status. However, no statement was released by the government or the Tamil Nadu Health minister when Jayalalithaa was hospitalised. Only Apollo Hospitals, where she was admitted, issued medical bulletins, he stated.

Expressing grief over the AIADMK leader’s death, Stalin said, “There are various reports about the treatment given to the former chief minister,” and referred to the demand by PMK founder S Ramadoss, who also sought a white paper on the matter.

“There are doubts among many people about the death of the (former) chief minister. To completely dispel them, a white paper should be published as demanded by Ramadoss,” he said.

Ramadoss, on his part, said there were “apprehensions” among the public and AIADMK workers over the treatment given to Jayalalithaa as well as her death. “To dispel them, the state government should immediately release a white paper detailing the medical treatment given to Jayalalithaa,” he said.

The public is not fully convinced about the reported health conditions of Jayalalalithaa leading to her death as no photo or TV video clips were published by the government to assure the people of her health condition on regular basis. When MGR was in hospital in USA, the government had, in order to put an end to rumours circulated in the media that MGR had died along ago but the government hid the facts, readily published living photos of CM MGR reading news papers. This gave the AIADMK an upper hand over rival DMK in propaganda tactics.

Not only DMK but also BJP and PMK- lost in the assembly and recently held by-elections and badly affected by Jayalalithaa’s increasing sway over masses – naturally think without Jayalalithaa at the helm of affirms it is possible to defeat AIADMK if they could split the ruling AIADMK. DMK has one important pending ambition- finding space on the Marina beach in front of Madras University for Karunanidhi’s memorial and for which he, as the convention followed so far, should die as CM of the state. It is certainly an abnormal agenda as DMK needs to outsmart AIADMK which is building a memorial for their leader Jayalalithaa who just passed away as TN CM and her mortally remains have been buried behind MGR’s memorial. The Marina beach memorial issue is indeed a serious matter for DMK. In fact, both Jayalalithaa and Karunanidhi “competed” for space for their own memorial on Marina Beech and jaya has succeeded.

Meanwhile, former CM Karunanidhi has been admitted again in Kaveri hospital in Chennai. On December 07 he returned home in Gopalapuram from hospital fully recovered from illness after treatment for a week. It seems he suffered from allergy and was not reacting to medicines as they have become ineffective as he getting too old.

Many DMK leaders and his relatives are in the hospital. Over-strain in politics and literature is cited as being the cause of his failing health. The hospital authorities say Karunanidhi’s condition is stable and there is no danger to his life.

Dr. Abdul Ruff

Dr. Abdul Ruff is a columnist contributing articles to many newspapers and journals on world politics. He is an expert on Mideast affairs, as well as a chronicler of foreign occupations and freedom movements (Palestine, Kashmir, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Xinjiang, Chechnya, etc.). Dr. Ruff is a specialist on state terrorism, the Chancellor-Founder of Center for International Affairs (CIA), commentator on world affairs and sport fixings, and a former university teacher. He is the author of various eBooks/books and editor for INTERNATIONAL OPINION and editor for FOREIGN POLICY ISSUES; Palestine Times.

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