Veteran AIADMK leader raises suspicions over Jaya’s death

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Chennai: Veteran AIADMK leader P H Pandian today raised suspicions over J Jayalalithaa’s death, alleging there was a quarrel at her Poes Garden home during which she was “pushed down” and collapsed even as he stoutly opposed making her close aide V K Sasikala as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.

In a fresh twist to the row over the death of the AIADMK supremo and former chief minister, Pandian, an ex-assembly Speaker, suspected foul play, alleging that her demise occurred under unnatural circumstances and demanded a probe on her hospitalisation.

Jayalalithaa was admitted to Apollo hospital here on September 22 and passed away on December five after a 75-day battle for her life.

Pandian levelled the allegations at a joint news conference along with his son Manoj, a party functionary, while referring to an incident on September 22 at the Poes Garden residence before she was hospitalised.

“On the night of September 22, there was a war of words between the people of the house. It was about some happening with the other side’s family (Sasikala’s family) and Jayalalithaa and she was pushed down. She fell down and she became unconscious,” P H Pandian alleged, adding, “This appeared in the papers next day.”

Questioning the secrecy surrounding the death of Jayalalithaa, he said events that took place ahead of Jayalalithaa’s hospitalisation should be probed involving those at home. “The hospital may cite patient’s right of privacy, but no one at home can take this defence,” he said.

Pandian said he remained silent since the death of Jayalalithaa but the scenario of Tamil Nadu politics in the past two days have been “disturbing me and are pushing me to confess a lot of truths regarding Jayalalithaa’s passing.”

The charges were made by Pandian, a day after London-based specialist Richard Beale, Apollo and government doctors ruled out poisoning as the cause of Jayalalithaa’s death and asserted that there was “no conspiracy” or mystery in either the line of treatment or what led to her end.

Opposing the elevation of Sasikala, Pandian said she does not have the locus standi to either be the party chief or Chief Minister.

He said it was against party rules. “Only cadres can elect the general secretary.”

“Sasikala does not deserve to be either the party supremo or the Chief Minister,” Pandian said, two days after Sasikala was elected AIADMK Legislature Party leader, paving the way for her becoming the chief minister.

Pandian claimed that within 20 days of the demise of Jayalalithaa, party leaders were “made to say” that they wanted Sasikala to be the party chief.

Manoj, who was also AIADMK Rajya Sabha member between 2010-16, referred to the “present developments”, an apparent reference to Sasikala being chosen AIADMK Legislature party leader, and said it was “happening against the wishes of the people by betraying them”.

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