NEW DELHI: While talking to a group of journalists on the key topic of the day, one DMK MP gets a phone call. Even 10 minutes after the call is over, he’s unable to resume the conversation. Everyone is waiting with bated breath.
The call, the MP discloses, was from a Chennai-based “lady journalist’’ and that “she was unable to talk, she was crying!’’ His eyes well up too and there’s a catch in his throat. The famous rivalry between the two Dravidian parties, AIADMK and DMK, is forgotten for the time being.
Like the past week, on Monday too, Parliament was disrupted over the ongoing currency crisis. But for the rest, it was Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, and her struggle for life in the ICU of Apollo Hospital, Chennai, that dominated all conversations and concerns. The long shadow of Chennai had fallen over the national capital.
The media too swung between despair and hope, reporting, dissecting and arguing over the tiny details trickling out of the Chennai hospital.
The overheated social media — WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter — peddled rumours and clarifications, in equal measures.
Unrest was not just anticipated, but actually erupted...the half-mast flag at AIADMK headquarters was quickly re-hoisted.
Prominent individuals — from President Pranab Mukherjee, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Congress president to vice-president Sonia and Rahul Gandhi — wished her speedy recovery. And groups as far removed as the Kashmir Pandits offered prayers for Amma’s recovery. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley seemed to suggest that an AIIMS team sent from Delhi, as part of a Central assistance the Modi Government was providing, had given hope that she may bounce back.
Health Minister J P Nadda was surrounded by MPs the moment the Houses were adjourned. CPI’s D Raja and DMK’s Tiruchi Shiva were seen in deep discussion with him, trying to find out the “actual situation’’ at Apollo hospital in Chennai.
On record, Nadda said the medical team was hopeful that despite her being on life support, all was not over. That’s the reason why I&B Minister Venkaiah Naidu has been rushed to Chennai, to not just coordinate with Governor Vidyasagar Rao, but also to tie up all loose ends so that O Paneerselvan can smoothly take charge.