It was a day of high drama in front of the high rise gates of the Apollo hospital in central Chennai, where Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa is undergoing treatment. While the AIADMK cadres and the Amma loyalists thronged the hospital premises, posh cars carrying senior specialists and renowned doctors from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhi wheeled into the swanky portico inside the hospital. Then came a series of visitors—from CPI’s former state secretary D. Pandian to Naam Thamizhar party leader Seeman to Rajiv Gandhi assassination accused Perarivalan’s mother Arputhammal.
“Our chief minister is recovering. I wish her good health. She needs rest for a few more days,” Pandian, Seeman and Arputhammal spoke in the same tone to the media crowd camped outside the hospital. All the three claimed to have enquired about chief minister’s health by meeting the doctors and the government officials camped inside the hospital.
For nearly two weeks, Jayalalithaa has been admitted to the hospital and the anxious party cadres and her loyalists are in a prayer mode. They throng the narrow Greams lane in front of Apollo to get a glimpse of their Amma. Everyday they sharpen their eyes and ears only to watch and hear anyone who call on their leader and brief the status of her health.
A team of experts from the AIIMS has arrived at the hospital to examine and treat the chief minister. The team comprises G.C. Khilnani, professor, Pulmonary Medicine, Anjan Trikha, professor, Anesthesiology and Nitish Naik, cardiologist, and would be available for consultations till Friday, said the hospital. The UK-based expert Dr Richard Beale, who treated Jayalalithaa on September 30, has also arrived in the city to assist the AIIMS team. According to a medical bulletin released on Thursday, the chief minister has been advised a “longer stay” in the hospital.
However, beyond all these, what caught the eyes of everyone at the gates of Apollo on Thursday was a new visitor who came calling Jayalalithaa—her disowned foster son V.N. Sudhakaran. Clad in a white Chinese collared shirt and with a dash of vermillion on his forehead, he looked completely spiritual seated inside his white colour Innova. But Sudhakaran, popularly known as “Chinna MGR” (junior MGR), was denied entry into the hospital as party cadres showed their anger and tried to chase him off.
Despite an hour long wait, Sudhakaran didn't get permission and he had to return without meeting his former foster mother.
Sudhakaran, a nephew of Sasikala, was adopted by Jayalalithaa in 1995 and was betrothed to Satyavati, the grand daughter of legendary actor Shivaji Ganesan. The extravagant wedding in 1995 cost Jayalalithaa’s victory in the next year election and led to her arrest over corruption charges. The DA case is still hanging as a sword of Damocles over her head. Sudhakaran had almost distanced himself from Jayalalithaa after she disowned him on August 25, 1996—the day he later termed as his “independence day.”
Even after Jayalalithaa disowned him, Sudhakaran was running the Chinna MGR narpani manram (Junior MGR fan club) and the then JJ TV. In 2001, after Jayalalithaa came back to power for the second time, he was arrested from his house at T Nagar in Chennai for allegedly possessing a packet of heroin and an unlicensed gun.
It has been more than a year since Sudharkaran met Jayalalithaa eye to eye and it has been more than two decades since he had a word with her. They met each other last time in 2014 at a trial court in Bengaluru where Justice John Michael D'Cunha pronounced the judgment in the disproportionate assets case .
According to Cunha’s judgment, Rs 8 crore was spent for Sudhakaran’s wedding of which Rs 3 crore was spent by Jayalalithaa.