A video of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa sitting up on a bed and sipping a glass of juice has sent Tamil Nadu politics into a tizzy. Will this quell the rumours about how Jayalalithaa got treatment at Apollo Hospitals? Will this stop the multiple reports that have come since December 5, 2016 that claimed that the late Chief Minister was in a coma throughout her 73 days stay at the hospital?
Apparently, the video is only raising more questions than providing answers. And the one big question that many people are asking is: who shot the video?
Tamil Nadu Fisheries Minister Jayakumar has also raised this question at a press conference in Chennai hours after the video was released by disqualified MLA and TTV Dhinakaran supporter Vetrivel.
He asked, "Who has taken this video breaching security? When was this video taken? Amma is in Z plus category security. So who took the video? There are no details on this.â€ť
However, Jayakumarâ€™s question comes even as the person who released the video made a stunning claim. Vetrivel told media persons that the video was shot by Sasikala herself.
P Vetrivel said, â€śChinamma took this video after Amma had come out of ICU. This was taken at Apollo. I released the video as I had no other choice. Even a year after her death, people have been tarnishing her image. Even yesterday there was a cheap news about Amma. Upon Panneerselvamâ€™s inciting, one or two people are coming forward, claiming that Amma has one child or two children.â€ť
It has to be recalled that TTV Dhinakaran has earlier, while confirming the existence of such a video, had also claimed that it was shot by his aunt Sasikala.
â€śBut we have a footage shot by Chinnamma (Sasikala), after Jayalalithaa insisted that she take a video because she had lost a lot of weight,â€ť a newspaper quoted him as saying.
Jayakumarâ€™s press conference, along with Minister for Electricity, Prohibition and Excise P Thangamani, and Minister for Food and Civil Supplies R Kamaraj, was part of the EPS-OPS combineâ€™s strategy in the face of the release of this video.
Ever since the EPS and OPS factions of the AIADMK merged, and the EPS faction sidelined TTV Dhinakaran and Sasikala, the Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister, have suggested that there was mystery around Jayalalithaaâ€™s death, pointing a finger at the Sasikala family.
In fact, one of the demands of the OPS faction before they merged with the ruling EPS faction was that there should be an inquiry into Jayalalithaaâ€™s hospitalization and death. Soon after the merger, the AIADMK government in Tamil Nadu instituted a one-man inquiry commission headed by Justice Retd Arumugasamy to look into the matter.
Not only this, ministers and leaders of the AIADMK made a U-turn following the sidelining of TTV Dhinakaran. For instance, Forest Minister Dindigul Sreenivasan who had earlier claimed that Jayalalithaa had given him sweets, later changed his version at a public meeting and openly declared that he and others had lied about Jayalalithaaâ€™s health. He even said that he had never seen Jayalalithaa throughout the time she was hospitalised.
Speaking at a public meeting in Madurai, Sreenivasan said: "We told lies that she (Jayalalithaa) had idlis and people met her. The truth is that nobody saw her."
In fact, in the face of such contradictory comments, Vetrivel has also claimed on Wednesday that he has videos of EPS and OPS discussing where to take Jayalalithaa for treatment next.
Threatening to release more videos that would expose the current Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister, he said, â€śThese people did not have the guts to stand before her when she was alive. Now these people are raising doubts about her death without any end. They are continuing this. I never went inside Apollo even one day. I would stand outside. All these people â€“ O Panneerselvam, Edappadi Palaniswami, RB Udayakumar, Vijayabaskar and Jayakumar â€“ would discuss where to take Amma for treatment next. We have that video also. We will release that next.â€ť
Jayakumar for his part asked why Vetrivel hadnâ€™t given the videos to the inquiry committee instead of threatening to release them to media.
â€śNone of us Ministers were allowed to see her. The top leaders from the Centre were also not allowed to see her. So who took this video? Once the investigating committee has been constituted, all evidence must be submitted to them. This act of releasing the video to external outlets is disrespectful to the committee. This politically motivated to bring disrepute to Amma," he said.
"There seems to be an ulterior motive to this. This is a violation of election practices," he said.
Questioning the ethics and legality of shooting such a video, Jayakumar said, "In a hospital, the patient has to be under the control of the hospital. This is also a breach of hospital rules."