Tamil Nadu chief minister J. Jayalalithaa suffered a cardiac arrest in the evening of December 4, 2016. In a press release, the Apollo Hospitals confirmed that Jayalalithaa has indeed suffered a cardiac arrest and is being treated in the CCU by a team of specialists including cardiologists, pulmonologists, and critical care specialists. Doctors from AIIMS and Dr Richard Beale from London, who are also being consulted, have concurred with the ongoing course of treatment. Jayalalithaa is on extra-corporeal membrane heart assist device and is being monitored closely. As per reports coming in the early hours of Monday morning, the Tamil Nadu chief minister also underwent an emergency angioplasty to remove a blockage. According to the latest statement issued by the Apollo Hospitals, the condition of CM Jayalalithaa is very critical. She is on ECMO and other life support systems and is being monitored constantly.
Within minutes of the news breaking in on the CM’s cardiac arrest, thousands of people, all her ardent fans, gathered in front of the hospital, praying for her quick recovery. All police units were on standby and the SPs on alert across all districts of Tamil Nadu. While the security in front of the hospital has been tightened, all roads leading to the hospital have also been blocked and Jayalalithaa’s house barricaded. Most of the schools and all the cinemas in Chennai will also remain closed today.
Tamil Nadu DGP had asked all police officers, personnel to report for duty by 7 A.M. on Monday, while paramilitary forces including the CRPF were kept on standby.
All the top leaders and MLAs of AIADMK along with the Honourable Governor of Tamil Nadu, C. Vidyasagar Rao, have been in a meeting at the hospital since last night.
September 22: CM Jayalalithaa admitted to the Apollo Hospitals with high fever and dehydration.
September 27: The AIADMK party tweeted that the CM had resumed duties from the hospital.
September 30: Dr. Richard Beale flown in to Chennai from UK.
October 7: Three AIIMs specialists also flown into Chennai.
October 13: PIL filed in Madras High Court over CM Jayalalithaa’s health.
November 13: Jayalalithaa issues statement saying that she has been “reborn” and thanked people for their prayers.
November 19: Jayalalithaa shifted from the ICU to a Special Room.
December 4: AIADMK tweeted saying CM Jayalalithaa was fine and all set to return home.
December 4: In the late evening of December 4, news of the CM’s cardiac arrest came in when the Apollo Hospitals issued a statement regarding the same.
Reactions from leaders from across India
President Pranab Mukherjee, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, DMK chief M. Karunanidhi, leader of the opposition in Tamil Nadu assembly and DMK treasurer M. K. Stalin and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi were among the leaders who tweeted wishing the Tamil Nadu chief minister a speedy recovery.
Jayalalithaa and her people
Jayalalithaa enjoys a god-like status in Tamil Nadu. The state has always seen politics emotionally and also with an essence of fanaticism; her ardent fans, especially the poor, do not stop from taking the most extreme of actions in her support. In the past, there have been even cases of self-immolations when Jayalalithaa was arrested in the Disproportionate Assets case in 2014 . Yes, the people of Tamil Nadu have deemed their Amma as a Goddess and not just a political figure. Since the time she took ill, and was admitted to the Apollo Hospitals, there have been endless vigils and prayers by her supporters. Since her cardiac arrest, thousands of her followers have gathered outside the hospital, and the air in Greams Road, where the hospital is located, is rending with moaning, and screaming and crying of her ardent fans.
CM Jayalalithaa rules over Tamil Nadu with an iron fist but she is also very particular about her public image and how the world regards her. And to Jayalalithaa, the poor are the most important; she is concerned about them, tries to be always approachable to the poor and rules for the upliftment of the underprivileged. Her party workers continue to carry her legacy and uphold her image by distributing free food to the poor in front of the hospital since the time she has been admitted.
The matter for worry is that, in case something happens to CM Jayalalitha, there is no one to take her place in the AIADMK. There is no other leader who commands the same status, power and public support. Which is why, the political scenario in Tamil Nadu is certainly going to face upheaval with the probability of disruption in law and order.
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