Chennai: A permanent set of media persons with microphones and writing pads waiting outside a hospital is a rare sight. But, it has become part of a routine work for the media since the Apollo hospital where Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa is undergoing treatment from Sept. 22 is bustling with activity as political leaders from the national to local level are making a bee-line to it.
But, the media briefings outside the hospital are stereotyped with every one of them coming out with get well messages, besides giving an optimistic news to AIADMK partymen, who rarely remember many of those visitors managing a meeting with their leader before.
Apollo resembles a pilgrimage centre where devotees of all kind come and display their devotion to the anxious party cadre and confused voters. Till now, TN was considered a land of personal political rivalries, sometimes hitting the rock bottom of vendetta politics, mud slinging and derogatory comments on personal lives.
Suddenly, the state appears to have undergone a grand transformation with all politicians turning out into a model of political culture and civility. Politicians have become paragons of virtue and human sympathy, forgetting all their petty quarrels and dirty squabbles.
Commenting on this, political analyst Bernard D Sami said “This has not happened earlier. I think the political leadership is maturing in Tamil Nadu. I think it is out of goodwill and it is a spontaneous action. They are all political leaders, but don’t think there is no political motives in their visit”.
VCK leader Thol. Thirumavalavan became the first politician to descend on the Apollo, meeting AIADMK leaders and ministers, before wishing a speedy recovery for the CM. However, it was the visit of Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi which turned the nation’s focus to Apollo. Besides, expressing his wishes, he also conveyed the Congress party’s support to Jayalalithaa, a strange humanitarian gesture.
It was said that TNCC president S. Thirunavukkarasar arranged Rahul’s visit to show his clout in the AIADMK where he began his political career. But, the DMK did not find anything political in Rahul’s move. Party spokesperson T.K.S. Elangovan said “Our leader Stalin too had made a visit. We don’t see politics in Rahul’s visit too”.
Leader of Opposition M.K. Stalin, who met the doctors to enquire about the Chief Minister’s health, the next day said the visit followed a direction from party chief M. Karunanidhi and added that he was carrying the wishes of the party leader.
Interestingly, almost all the visitors barring Stalin also expressed their strong opposition to appointing an interim Chief Minister, a demand vociferously rejected by the ruling AIADMK too.
DMDK founder, who is the lone leader to avoid a visit had charged that the visits are for political gains. He said “Everyday one or the other leader is visiting Apollo and speaking to the press outside, leading to reports of political gains”.
However, AIADMK leaders are confident that such humanitarian gestures could not become a political tool for any party, since they are optimistic of their leader’s recovery and taking over the reins of power. Party spokesperson C.R. Saraswathi said “Not only in Tamil Nadu, Tamils all over the world are praying for the CM and she is recovering very well and allocation of portfolios to the Finance Minister is only a temporary measure till the Chief Minister returned to the helm of affairs”.