After nearly 50 days in hospital amid all sorts of rumours and speculations, the chief Minister of India's southern State of Tamil Nadu, J. Jayalalithaa, has released a statement bringing great relief to her supporters.
In a signed letter shared by the private hospital where she was admitted since September, the AIADMK leader thanked her wellwisher saying, "I have taken rebirth because of people's prayers." Jayalalithaa, who is widely called Amma, or Mother, said she is waiting to recover fully and resume work soon.
This letter, no doubt, brings new hope for her supporters in the state and partymen who were reeling under uncertainty regarding her health for the last two months. Rumours flew thick and fast that the Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam supremo was extremely ill and there was little chance of recovery. The social media was also rocked by the false news of her passing away, to which AIADMK supporters reacted violently bringing unrest in the state.
In the letter, the ailing chief minister also expressed regret that she could not meet voters or party workers personally before the elections, scheduled for 19 November, in four constituencies in Tamil Nadu. She also urged people to only work towards the growth of the party .
"But my mind and heart are always with you," said Jayalalithaa, the Hindu reported. "I do not know rest; I can't stop working also."
In these two months, loyalists who hold her great veneration were on the tenterhooks. Mass prayers and suicides were common across the state, where followers give her a demi god status. Photographs of bizarre religious rituals conducted for her wellbeing surfaced on the internet, revealing the depth of devotion she commands across the state.
Some of these practices also attracted criticism, and pictures of young children with faces pierced with metal rods and carrying photographs of Jayalalithaa were highly condemned. S. Ramadoss, leader of a regional party called Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK), was quick to call it a "human rights violation".
Tamil news channel Puthiyathalamurai also reported a man carrying out self-immolation in Cuddalore district. He was hospitalised with 30 percent burn injuries. Also, some followers attempted suicide from hanging on the crane.
Jayalalithaa (68) was admitted to the Apollo Hospital in Chennai on 22 September after she complained of fever and dehydration. Apollo Hospitals chairman Prathap C Reddy said on 12 November that the chief minister's lung infection was now under control and she was due to be discharged soon.