Jaya's tryst with Sept
September month does not seem to be lucky for the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa. The 68-year-old leader was admitted to the Apollo Hospital in Chennai on September 22 with complaints of fever and dehydration. Two weeks later, even as hundreds of her supporters across the state continue to pray for her speedy recovery, she isbattling for life. Apparently Septembers have been cruel to her.
On September 21, 2001, the Supreme Court removed Jayalalithaa as ChiefMinister, ordering that her appointment was “not legal and valid” forthe AIADMK leader had been found guilty just 11 months earlier, in theTANSI land deal case. She was in jail for three years rigorous underrigorous imprisonment, and was barred from contesting the 2001Assembly Elections in Tamil Nadu. Ironically the AIADMK front routedthe DMK, winning 196 out of 234 seats. She came back to the Fort St. George for a second term.
But it was not all cushy for four months after Governor Fatima Beevi had sworn Jayalalithaa in as CM, a five-judge Constitution bench ordered that she could not continue to hold office as it was a clear infringement of the Constitution. This September 2001 judgement proved to be a temporary setback for theAIADMK general secretary, for eventually the Madras High Court clearedJayalalithaa in the TANSI case in December that year.
She was soonelected to the Assembly from Andipatti constituency and was sworn inas Chief Minister on March 2, 2002. Thirteen years after being unseated by the Supreme Court, Jayalalithaaonce again got the distinction of becoming the first sitting ChiefMinister to be disqualified as a legislator when she was convicted inthe disproportionate assets case in 2014. The judgement in the18-year-old case was pronounced on September 27, with the specialcourt judge finding Jayalalithaa guilty of corruption. She was sentenced to four years in prison along with a fine of Rs. 100 crores.
The BJP at the centre is acting like the Congress during MGR’s times, desisting from taking any action against the state government. Questions are already being raised whether the union government has failed in its constitutional duties. But one suave politician, Dr Subramanian Swamy seems to have understood the ground realities in TN. In a letter to union home minister Rajnath Singh, the veteran BJP MP asked the centre to impose President’s rule in the State, keeping in mind Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s ill health.
Swamy in his letter has mentioned that the state is in “administrative disarray, following the indefinite hospitalisation of the Chief Minister and her having to remain, for health reasons, incommunicado”. He further added that a retired Chief Secretary Sheela Balakrishnan is handling the state’s affairs, which has resulted in “activisation of sleeper cells of the ISIS” in some districts and other disruptive activities causing upheaval in Tamil Nadu.
Swamy has urged Rajnath Singh to invoke Article 356 of the Constitution, put the Legislative Assembly in suspended action and to impose AFSPA in all southern districts as well as Chennai for a period of six months till CM Jayalalithaa is able to attend office. He added that such an action is constitutional as well as urgent. Dr Swamy’s advice appears to be the only solution left for the centre to act. One would hope the Centre would take a remedial action in this regard and save TN from languishing in uncertainty.