P H Pandian, one of the senior most leaders in AIADMK from MGR period who held top positions in the party and the government, on Tuesday demanded a probe on J Jayalalithaa’s death citing reports that there were heated arguments on the night of September 22, 2016, at her Poes Garden residence and she was pushed down by someone that led to her hospitalisation. In the wake of major political developments that prepares the party to make Sasikala as the CM of Tamil Nadu, Pandian and his son Manoj who addressed the media alleged that Jayalalithaa was suffering from depression and had complained to them on her fears of getting poisoned too.
Referring to reports on the heated arguments and that someone had pushed her down, Pandian said the hospitalisation was to avoid any suspicion and demanded a probe on the chain of events before the hospitalisation. “Apollo (hospital) can cite the privacy of patient to not reveal many details. What about the reported events at Poes Garden that night? How many people were there? How many relatives?,” asked Pandian, targeting Sasikala and her family.
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Pandian was also a founding member of the party and one of the leaders who left in the party who worked with both MGR and Jayalalithaa had also served as the organising secretary of the party. He served as the deputy speaker (1980 to 1985) and speaker (1985 to 1989) in the state assembly.
Questioning why Sasikala was in a hurry to become Chief Minister, referring to an alleged coup by Sasikala family against Jayalalithaa to oust her from the CM post in 2011, Pandian said: “Such a person cannot be the successor of Jayalalithaa, she cannot be the leader or CM.”
Reacting to Pandian’s allegations, AIADMK Spoekperson C R Saraswathy said it was MGR and Amma (Jayalalithaa) who gave him all the posts in party. “Even his son and wife were given important posts. When Amma was hospitalised, he was there in the hospital, almost everyday. Why didn’t he raise these allegations then but coming out 60 days after her death. It means he wants to join the people who are trying to split the party. Amma avoided people like K P Munusamy and Pandian for the last one year, she always refused to meet them. Anyway, we are here to take care of the party now,” Saraswathy told The Indian Express.
Recalling the day when Jayalalithaa died, Pandian alleged that he saw no remorse among Sasikala’s family. “Sasikala was neither crying nor there were tears in her eyes I saw her on the hospital corridor along with a battalion of her relatives,” he said.
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“After she was thrown out of Poes Garden in 2011, she returned with an apology letter claiming that she doesn’t want to become even an MLA or councillor in the party. How come she wants to become the party Chief and CM now?” he said, saying he will oppose any effort of Sasikala to capture the party.
He also alleged that Sasikala has no moral right to control the party and the state “when her relatives are making Rs 17,000 crore annually by selling liquor through MIDAS (one of the largest liquor distillery firms in Tamil Nadu),” he alleged.
Recalling a 1996 speech of Jayalalithaa, after her release from the prison in a corruption case, saying all her hard earned money including all her assets should finally reach people, Pandian warned that her wealth shouldn’t be looted by people like they misused her thumb impression for the Aravakurichi election. This allegation, that people around her had taken the thumb impression of Jayalalithaa, as party chief, without her knowledge for the Election Commission documents, is an allegation repeatedly countered by the government and the party with the affidavit of a senior government doctor.
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Pandian said his entire political career was for the party and Jayalalithaa. “She was the one who gave me food. She used to address me as the dearest brother in public meetings. That makes me responsible to intervene in these developments after her death. I am fulfilling my responsibility even if many others (other leaders who were close associates of Jayalalithaa) have failed to do so,” he said.
Pandian and his son Manoj Pandian, a former MP of AIADMK, were sidelined in the party after he made a controversial speech against V K Sasikala during a meeting called by late Jayalalithaa following the ouster of Sasikala. Although Jayalalithaa, who did enjoy his loyalty and encouraged his criticism on Sasikala family, had later sidelined him after Sasikala had returned to the party and started wielding power again.
Pandian’s son Manoj recalled his meeting with Jayalalithaa at the Poes Garden residence after Sasikala’s ouster in 2011. “She told us that she wouldn’t let anyone to hijack the party. She said she feared that she will be poisoned,” said Manoj. He said Sasikala has no right to remove or appoint anyone to the post of party general secretary as per the party constitution. “All proceedings led to her election as the General Secretary of the party was illegal,” he said.