How far Tamil Nadu can run in Autopilot mode
Want for an acting chief minister is gaining ground in Tamil Nadu. This has been already raised from many corners in the prolonged absence of chief minister Jayalalithaa who has been admitted to Apollo Hospital since September 22 following illnesses to which she has been battling for more than a year now. But as the exact details regarding her health have not been published by the state government or party, wilder speculations are spreading across the state now.
The main Criticism that has been geared up later is that the state’s administration is totally dependent in the hands of some bureaucrats. Currently, all the important decisions have been taken jointly by the secretary, higher officials of the state, and the chief minister’s adviser who have also been the ex-state chief secretary Sheela Balakrishnan (whom some media reports termed as the ‘acting chief minister’)
Jayalalithaa is the supreme power both in party and in state administration or the AIADMK do not have a second leader, which is the main crisis the party faces now, though the AIADMK claims that the chief minister’s health issues has not impacted the functioning of the state government in any way. They are pointing to the the state government’s quick and timely intervention on the Cauvery issue to prove this but it is sure that the upcoming local body elections and the future course of Cauvery water dispute will be a challenge for the AIADMK and the state if nobody both does not have a caption.
Ministers and higher officials are frequent these in the Apollo hospital. It seems the political decisions are taken by Jayalalithaa’s long time closest aide Sasikala, where Hindustan times reported that the officials are waiting for the node of chief minister’s adviser Sheela Balakrishnan on official matters.
Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) leader, the actor turned politician Vijayakanth has already voiced his demand for an acting chief minister as he believes nobody is there to take care of the state at the moment. The union government has also sought a report from the governor about the day-to-day functioning of the government.
One of Jayalalithaa’s trusted aide O Paneerselvam, the AIADMK MLA from Bodynaykanur has served as chief minister of Tamil Nadu when Jayalalithaa had to step down following legal battles last year. But this time the party has not yet admitted any such possibility, instead they are defending the political rivals saying the chief minister is recovering but the party cannot do this same for so long.
Meanwhile, the High Court is to consider the petition submitted by the activist ‘traffic’ Ramaswamy , seeking a report from the government on the health status of the CM . While considering the petition on Tuesday the court has observed that the the state government is obliged to inform the public about its chief ministers health status and the high court bench has directed the Tamil Nadu state Advocate general C Manishankar to give a reply on this after consulting with the state government. The health condition of the chief minister remains a mystery though Apollo Hospital repeatedly acknowledging that she is recovering.