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Jayalalithaa Fought for Cauvery in Her Last Days at Apollo: Former Chief Secy, Rama Rao

Ram Mohana Rao said: The meeting on Cauvery happened on September 27, 2016. Jayalalithaa spent two hours talking to us and was vehemently giving us instructions. She wanted to fight for the Cauvery issue.

Poornima Murali | CNN-News18

Updated:April 7, 2018, 6:18 PM IST
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Jayalalithaa Fought for Cauvery in Her Last Days at Apollo: Former Chief Secy, Rama Rao
File Photo of Late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa (PTI)
Chennai: Amid continued protests in Tamil Nadu over the setting up of Cauvery Management Board, former Chief Secretary Rama Mohana Rao has finally spoken out about his last meeting with late chief minister Jayalalithaa at the Apollo Hospital. Rao has said that he did attend a two-hour meeting headed by Jayalalithaa at the hospital in 2016, when she was undergoing treatment.

Speaking to CNN-News18, Rao said that Jayalalithaa wanted to fight for Cauvery tooth and nail.

Ram Mohana Rao said, "The meeting on Cauvery happened on September 27, 2016. Jayalalithaa spent two hours talking to us and was vehemently giving us instructions. She wanted to fight for the Cauvery issue. Even when she was hospitalised, she had that kind of involvement. She gave detailed dictation and interaction and that was the last meeting we had with her on official matters. We had interacted with her for six days."

To a question on whether spoke to her during her hospitalisation, he said: "All that she had in mind in those six days was the Cauvery court case. She called me from the hospital when I was in the Supreme Court. That was the depth of her commitment and then we lost her. Even today I'm shocked at her demise."

In the absence of a tall AIADMK leader, political analysts say the ruling AIADMK government is not mounting enough pressure on the Centre to set up the CMD. Protests have intensified and opposition DMK has attacked the state government of 'double standards' in handling the Cauvery issue.

So would things have been handled differently had Jaya been alive? Rao chose to dodge the question, and said, “I don’t want to make political statements.”

Several ministers have made contradictory statements on whether or not they met the late chief minister at the hospital, however, the former chief secretary just said that the matter is sub judice.

He, however, admits that once when Jayalalithaa was moved to the special ward, he didn’t see her after that.

When the ruling government on September 27 sent out a release that Jayalalithaa had headed a meeting on Cauvery at Apollo, DMK demanded that a picture of the meeting be released.

After Jayalalithaa's death, there have been many conspiracy theories about her death. Now Deputy CM, O Panneerselvam, who had revolted against the state government after her death, had claimed that only Sasikala had access to Jayalalithaa and none of the ministers or bureaucrats met her during her hospitalisation.

However, the former chief secretary's deposition makes it clear that top government officials did meet her at some point during her hospitalisation.

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| Edited by: Huma Tabassum
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