Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalithaa who passed away late on Monday had a strong connect to Kerala. Her main astrologer was Parappanagadi Unnikrishna Panicker. Based in Kerala’s Malappuram district, Panicker had predicted that Jayalalithaa would overcome all adversities and become the CM of Tamil Nadu following the Assembly elections in 2001. Panicker’s prediction had come at a time when she was barred from contesting, after being found guilty in the TANSI land deal case by a Chennai court.
Panicker’s prediction boosted the morale of Jayalalithaa who campaigned extensively in the elections. AIADMK rode to victory by winning 196 of the 234 seats. Elated party leaders rewarded Unnikrishnan with a purse of Rs 10 lakh. Following Panicker’s advice, Jayalalithaa donated an elephant to the Sreekrishna temple in Guruvayur on July 2, 2001.
It was then said that she chose to rename the elephant “Kannan”, or Krishna, in order to seek a favourable verdict for Tamil Nadu in the Cauvery river water dispute.
Jayalalithaa had visited the Kerala temple days after Tamil Nadu was plunged into turmoil following the arrest of her arch rival and DMK supremo M Karunanidhi and two Union ministers Murasoli Maran and TR Baalu. She had also offered prayers at the Sree Alathiyur Perumthrukkovil near Tirur, then.
Days later she offered prayers in Taliaparambu’s Rajarajeswari Temple in northern Kannur district. The TN chief minister offered “Ponninkudam”, a golden pot filled with ghee as advised by Panicker. Following Jayalalithaa’s visit a large number of devotees from Tamil Nadu began to flock the temple in northern Kerala.
Jayalalithaa’s connect to the country’s southernmost state is not confined to the temples alone. Her party, AIADMK routinely fields candidates in elections in border districts like Palakkad, Idukki and Thiruvananthapuram.