With uncertainty still prevailing over the health condition of Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa, the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu is reportedly looking for an interim chief minister who can take the reins of the government.
According to the Times of India, Jayalalithaa, who was admitted to a private hospital in Chennai on 22 September, has been advised a longer stay. She was hospitalised after she complained of fever and dehydration.
However, rumours are flying thick and fast that the Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) supremo is extremely ill and there is less chance of recovery.
Meanwhile, doctors treating her said that she is responding well to treatments. On 4 October, Apollo Hospital confirmed that a team of three experts from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi, was flown down to Chennai to assist her further treatment.
Though the Tamil Nadu government has not confirmed anything, it is reported that senior cabinet ministers Edappadi K Palaniswami and O Panneerselvam are being considered for the post of interim chief minister.
Panneerselvam acted as the caretaker chief minister twice between 2001 and 2014 after Jayalalithaa resigned from her post following legal setbacks.
These developments, according to the news agency, happened after a meeting between the acting governor C Vidyasagar Rao and Palaniswami and Panneerselvam at Raj Bhavan. The meeting was organised to discuss administrative matters, revealed a Raj Bhavan statement. Also, after the meeting the ministers and the governor dropped in at Apollo hospital where their cabinet colleagues had gathered, reported the news agency.
On 7 October, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi flew down to Chennai to meet the ailing chief minister. On the very same day, BJP leader and MP Subramanian Swamy sought President's rule in Tamil Nadu, saying that Chief Minister Jayalalithaa's 'indifinite hospitalisation' is having negative impact on the administration in the state.
"In this ad hoc administrative situation, there has been an activisation of the sleeper cell of the Islamic State group in the districts of Ramanathapuram, Tirunelveli, Madurai and Kanyakumar and a collaborate and supportive action by the Dravidar Kazhagam, leftover LTTE and disruptive groups such as underground Naxalites, to create an upheaval in the State, causing a massive disorder and lawlessness," said Swamy, according to the Hindu.
"Therefore, I urge the Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to invoke Article 356 of the Constitution, put the Legislative Assembly in suspended animation and impose the AFSPA in southern districts as well as Chennai for a period of six months till Ms. Jayalalithaa is able to attend the office", he added.
Opposition Party Chief M Karunanidhi also lashed at the government saying that it lacks a transparent system to inform people about Jayalalithaa's actual health status.