Chennai: Under attack over reported portfolio allocation to Tamil Nadu's Finance Minister O Panneerselvam by state's ailing Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, the ruling AIADMK said on Thursday the latter gave verbal consent regarding the same.
The clarification from the party after the DMK-led Opposition parties asked how could Jayalalithaa convey her decision to allot eight of her portfolios to Panneerselvam while she is recovering at the Apollo Hospital where she has been put on respiratory support.
Jayalalithaa had advised the state's Governor Vidyasagar Rao to assign her portfolios to Finance Minister O Panneerselvam while she recovers in hospital, her party had said on Wednesday evening.
Portfolios looked after by Honourable Amma have been allocated to Finance Minister O. Panneerselvam on the advice of Puratchi Thalaivi Amma.
— AIADMK (@AIADMKOfficial) October 11, 2016
The chief minister, party spokesperson CR Saraswathi also told reporters that she is "reading newspapers and recovering fast."
"A message was sent to Jayalalithaa about giving portfolios to O Panneerselvam, She said 'yes'. She's not unconscious," Saraswathi said, also explaining that "everybody can't go inside (to her room) due to infection. Only doctors go. Without the Chief Minister's knowledge, nothing happens in AIADMK."
It was rebuttal to opposition parties who asked just how Ms Jayalalithaa had advised the state's Governor Vidyasagar Rao to assign her portfolios or departments to Mr Panneerselvam, who has stood in for Ms Jayalalithaa twice before when she stepped down as chief minister over corruption cases against her.
However, this did not go down well with the Opposition with one of the top leaders, S Ramadoss of the Pattali Makkal Katchi, hitting back saying, ''Till the Governor explains, the decision will be suspect... Jayalalithaa could not have gestured or signed while on respiratory support."
DMK chief Karunanidhi also sought to know whether Jayalalithaa had "signed a file" to advice the Governor on the changes. He also asked why visitors have not been allowed to meet Jayalalithaa.
Among those who have visited the hospital are BJP chief Amit Shah, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and several union ministers.
The opposition leaders have earlier questioned why so much secrecy is being maintained regarding Jayajalithaa's health.
The Opposition also demanded the Tamil Nadu government to make statements on her condition and release her photograph to put rumours that she is gravely ill at rest.
The AIADMK, however, rejected that demand.
The Chief Minister has been at Chennai's Apollo hospital since September 22. Doctors said she is being treated for lung infection and has been on respiratory support for several days. Ms Jayalalalithaa will not be able to leave hospital soon, they said.