India: Uncertainty prevails over Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalithaa's health
J. Jayalalithaa, chief minister of India's Tamil Nadu state and chief of Anna Dravida Munetra Khazhgam (AIADMK), gestures from inside a vehicle after addressing her party supporters during an election campaign rally in the southern Indian city of Chennai April 19, 2014 Reuters

Uncertainty over the health condition of J. Jayalalithaa, the Chief Minister of the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu, has triggered frenzied speculation among her party and fan following. Jayalalithaa, fondly known as Amma, was admitted to a private hospital in Chennai on 22 September after she complained of fever and dehydration.

The hospital has also flown in Dr Richard John Beale, a consultant critical care physician, to monitor Jayalalithaa's health conditions.

According to the latest report, the health condition of the 68-year-old AIADMK leader is stable and she will be discharged soon.

However, the social media have been flooded by rumours of Jayalalithaa passing away of kidney ailment. The rumours also claim that the announcement of her death is taking time to ensure law and order situation in the state does not go out of control.

Amma loyalists and AIADMK party workers have gathered in large numbers front of the hospital in Chennai for the last two days, waiting for any update on her health. Reporters and camera persons are also keeping a strong vigil day and night.

Hospital responds

Police have barricaded the entire road in front of the Apollo hospital. Special pujas for amma's quick recovery are being held in front of the hospital. However, no one has yet confirmed the health condition of the chief minister.

However, according to media reports, the hospital authorities released a medical bulletin on 30 September saying that she is responding well to the treatment.

"The Honourable Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu was admitted to Apollo Hospitals, Chennai, with fever and dehydration. The Honourable Madam is stable and under observation," said the report according to the Scroll.

The Chief Operating Officer of Apollo Hospitals said "Necessary evaluation tests are being carried out. The Honourable Chief Minister has been advised few days stay in the hospital for recuperative treatment."

Opposition lashes back

Opposition Party Chief M Karunanidhi, wishing Jayalalithaa quick recovery, demanded the state government to release photo of her to end rumours.

He lashed back at the government saying that it lacks a transparent system to inform people about Jayalalithaa's actual health status.

"Meantime, there were also reports that she had met officials and leaders in the hospital to discuss on Cauvery issue and that she herself 'dictated' the statement on Cauvery issue for the meeting held in Delhi. When there was a practice of issuing photographs of such meetings earlier, no such photos of her meeting in the hospital were released so far. Many of her cadres and followers remain upset about her actual health status. Still no concerned people have taken an effort to release her photo from the hospital," the DMK chief said, according to the Indian Express,

Karunanidhi, mentioning a similar incident in 1984 when the then chief minister MGR fell ill and rumours were doing the rounds, said many ministers, including union minister Pon Radhakrishnan came to meet Jayalalithaa inside but there were no reports of them meeting her.

"There were many people like Radhakrishnan had visited the hospital but no reports of them meeting Jayalalithaa had come later," he said, according to news agencies.

Meanwhile, AIADMK spokesperson Nanjil Sampath said photograph of Jayalalithaa could not be released as there is no permission for photography from her doctors and the hospital.

Tamil Nadu police has issued a strict warning against those spreading rumours. Chennai police commissioner S George warned those who are spreading rumours of Jayalalithaa's demise by saying that they could be detained under the IT Act.

On 30 August, the AIADMK IT wing filed a case on against Thamizhachi, self-described author, who allegedly posted on Facebook that then AIADMK leader had died.