The health bulletin issued by the hospital said Poongothai was brought in an unconscious state, and is presently awake and responding to treatment.

Poongothai Aladi Aruna seated and speaking into a mic She is wearing a beige saree and her hair is left loose at the backFile image
news Politics Thursday, November 19, 2020 - 17:25

Former Information and Technology Minister of Tamil Nadu and DMK MLA Poongothai Aladi Aruna has been admitted to a hospital in Tirunelveli, allegedly after attempting suicide on Thursday. A health bulletin issued by Shifa Hospitals reads, “Poongothai was brought in an unconscious state. At present she remains awake, responsive and her vital parameters are satisfactory. Her current clinical condition warrants a stay in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). She is being continuously monitored by the team of doctors.”.

According to a source in the DMK, Poongothai’s suicide attempt was due to a family dispute. “She has had a long-standing feud with one of her brothers, who is also in the party. She had participated at a party meeting on Wednesday, but was upset as her brother was on the stage while she was not,” says the source. Poongothai had reportedly refused to take the stage later.

Poongothai, daughter of former DMK man and former Law Minister Aladi Aruna, is a gynecologist by profession. She also served as the state’s Social Welfare Minister during MK Karunanidhi’s tenure as Chief Minister between 2006 and 2008. Among her notable achievements were the two-egg scheme in the noon meal programme and becoming the state’s first IT Department Minister in 2009.

During her tenure as the Social Welfare Minister, in 2008, a leaked conversation between Poongothai and the then Director of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption SK Upadhyay almost threatened her position following which she submitted her resignation. Poongothai was reinstated as Minister of Information and Technology the next year.

She is currently the MLA from Alangulam assembly constituency in Tirunelveli district, representing the DMK. She was first elected as an MLA in 2006 from Alangulam and then lost to the AIADMK candidate in 2011. In 2016, she won with over 88,000 votes polled in her favour.

Recently, there was speculation that she was in talks to join the BJP, soon after actor Khushboo joined the party. However, Poongothai denied the reports, terming them “shocking and baseless”. The MLA lodged a complaint with the Kadayam police, seeking action against the social media user who sparked the rumour.

If you are aware of anyone facing mental health issues or feeling suicidal, please provide help. Here are some helpline numbers of suicide-prevention organisations that can offer emotional suppport to individuals and families.

Tamil Nadu

State health department's suicide helpline: 104

Sneha Suicide Prevention Centre - 044-24640050 (listed as the sole suicide prevention helpline in Tamil Nadu)

Andhra Pradesh

Life Suicide Prevention: 78930 78930

Roshni: 9166202000, 9127848584

Karnataka

Sahai (24-hour): 080 65000111, 080 65000222

Kerala

Maithri: 0484 2540530

Chaithram: 0484 2361161

Both are 24-hour helpline numbers.

Telangana

State government's suicide prevention (toll-free): 104

Roshni: 040 66202000, 6620200

SEVA: 09441778290, 040 27504682 (between 9 amd and 7 pm)

Aasara offers support to inidviduals and families during an emotional crisis, for those dealing with mental health issues and suicidal ideation, and to those undergoing trauma after the suicide of a loved one.

24x7 Helpline: 9820466726

Click here for working helplines across India.

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