Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa is alive and on life support, Apollo Hospitals announced on Monday evening, after a few Tamil media channels reported her death that sparked a mass frenzy.
"Some television channels are wrongly reporting that the chief minister is no more. This is totally baseless and false," a statement from the hospital said, denying reports that Jayalalithaa was no more.
The clarification came after a few TV channels began reporting the demise of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister that expectedly triggered a frenzy both outside the hospital and the AIADMK headquarters.
A group of emotionally charged AIADMK activists tried to barge into the hospital after breaking the barricades but were pushed back. Many others broke down, unable to check their emotions, loudly crying "Amma, Amma!"
Some people hurled water bottles at police.
At the AIADMK headquarters in Chennai, the party flag was brought down to half mast but was restored to its original position once the clarification from the hospital was issued.
Inside, hundreds of people wept on hearing the wrong media reports of her death. "How can you leave us?" cried one man, reported IANS.
However, later in the evening, the AIADMK said that Jayalalithaa is "responding" to the treatment, reported PTI.
"The AIIMS team... they have come and are treating (Jayalalithaa). She is responding to it," a spokesperson from the ruling party said on Monday without elaborating.
Earlier, Apollo said: "Despite our best efforts, our beloved chief minister remains in a grave situation."
Richard Beale from the London Bridge Hospital, who has been regularly consulted by doctors in Chennai, said the situation for Jayalalithaa was "extremely grave".
"I can confirm that everything possible is being done to give her the best chance of surviving (the cardiac arrest)," he added.
By dusk, roads started wearing a deserted look, even as groups of anxious people huddled in discussions over the condition of 68-year-old AIADMK supremo. The usual weekday peak hour rush was also absent as many bus and suburban rail stations wore a near deserted look by 7 pm.
Crowds have been gathering outside the hospital from Sunday evening as a near total shutdown like situation prevailed in the city with shops and other establishments downing shutters and office goers returning home early. Security has been stepped up across the state where actor-turned-politician Jayalalithaa enjoys widespread support.
Earlier, AIADMK MLAs, apparently to pick a successor, trooped to the hospital, which has turned into a virtual fortress with hundreds of police personnel trying to keep at bay the thousands of Jayalalithaa supporters.
An AIADMK source told IANS that the MLAs were in a hall of the Apollo complex. There is speculation that the party is looking at Jayalalithaa's successor.
Maharashtra Governor C Vidyasagar Rao, who has additional charge of Tamil Nadu, visited the hospital on Sunday night. But he did not issue any statement after his hospital visit.
Supporters also flashed posters and photographs of Jayalalithaa, who has wielded single-handed control over the AIADMK for decades.
Special prayers were offered in places of worships in Krishnagiri, Trichy, Tuticorin, Erode, Kanchipuram, Dharmapuri, Sivaganga and Coimbatore for the chief minister who was admitted to the hospital in September.
Apollo Hospitals had days ago said she was on the road to recovery and she could take a decision on going home.
As she became critical on Sunday, some parts of Chennai experienced shortages of milk as traders jacked up prices fearing a shutdown.
President Pranab Mukherjee joined the political class in wishing Jayalalithaa a "speedy recovery".
DMK chief M Karunanidhi and his son and party leader MK Stalin also conveyed their best wishes for her recovery.
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi said: "I hope she gets better very soon," said .
Mamata Banerjee, Devendra Fadnavis, Vasundhara Raje also prayed for her recovery.
Though there were no major untoward incident, reports of stones being pelted at a state transport corporation bus came in from a locality in Chennai. The city has come under a thick security cover with large number of police personnel being deployed at vital junctions.
Meanwhile, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday ruled out the possibility of law and order problems in Tamil Nadu. "There is no issue of law and order. Law and order is not a concern yet," he told reporters.
A senior Home Ministry official said the central government was closely monitoring the situation in Tamil Nadu all efforts are being made to maintain law and order so that no untoward incident takes place. The Home Ministry officials are in constant touch with the officials of Tamil Nadu government and assessing the situation.
As many as 900 personnel of Rapid Action Force (RAF) of CRPF have been put on stand-by to be immediately airlifted from various places in the country to Tamil Nadu, if needed, they said.
With inputs from agencies
Updated Date: Dec 05, 2016 22:08:55 IST