Tamil Nadu minister Sellur K Raju on Tuesday contradicted the claims of two of his cabinet colleagues that no one was allowed to see AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa during her hospitalisation last year. “All the ministers met her,” he told reporters when asked if he had met Jayalalithaa during her 75 days of hospitalisation from September 22 last year. Raju, however, refused to elaborate, and only said that the death of Amma, as Jayalalithaa was called by her party leaders and workers, was a huge loss. The minister for cooperation said he was not prepared to say anything more on the issue.
“You must only ask the minister who had expressed that opinion,” he said, when pressed further on the claim by Forest Minister Dindigul C Srinivasan that AIADMK leaders had “lied” on the health condition of Jayalalithaa and none of them had seen her in hospital.
Latching onto the issue, the camp of rebel leader TTV Dhinakaran said the Commission of Inquiry constituted on Monday by the state government to go into Jayalalithaa’s death should question the state ministers over their contradictory views.
Srinivasan’s comments had triggered a renewed demand by the DMK and other opposition parties for a thorough probe into the death of Jayalalithaa.
Addressing a public meeting in Madurai, Srinivasan had on September 23 apologised to the people, saying they had lied about Jayalalithaa’s health.
He said no one was allowed to meet Jayalalithaa during her hospitalisation and all those came were told by her close aide V K Sasikala’s relatives that she was “all right”.
Srinivasan had said that, afraid of Sasikala, party leaders lied so that people believed that Jayalalithaa was improving.
He had said that their claim of ‘Amma’ eating idli and tea was based on information given to them by Sasikala.
Endorsing his views, Commercial Taxes Minister K C Veeramani on Monday said the ministers were not able to see the late chief minister even one day.
At a public meeting in Vellore District, Veeramani, without naming Sasikala or her family, said, “Out of fear of this family… we would tell what we were told (by Sasikala’s kin)… that Amma had two idlis, she spoke and that she is fine.”
On the differing views of his colleagues, Revenue Minister R B Udhaya Kumar on Tuesday said it was their individual opinion based on their experience.
MLA Thanga Tamilselvan, a loyalist of sidelined leader Dhinakaran, said retired judge A Arumughaswamy should also inquire against the ministers in the wake of their contradictory claims and arrive at a conclusion.
Dubbing the assertions of ministers as “surprising” and “suspicious”, he wondered why there was “confusion” among them nearly a year after Jayalalithaa’s death.
“For sure all these ministers might have to quit office for their contradictory positions,” he told reporters here.
He claimed that the reason behind such contradictory views of the ministers was to “break” the “huge influence” of party deputy general secretary T T V Dhinakaran among the party cadres and people.
It was a “wrong calculation,” he said, adding it will adversely affect them.
Jayalalithaa, who was admitted to the Apollo Hospitals here on September 22, 2016, passed away on December 5.
The state government on Monday named retired judge of Madras High Court A Arumughaswamy as head of the inquiry commission to probe the death of Jayalalithaa.
A judicial probe was one of the pre-conditions of O Panneerselvam, the present deputy chief minister, for the merger of factions led by him and Chief Minister K Palaniswami.
After Palaniswami announced on August 17 that an inquiry commission would be constituted, the two factions merged on August 21.