We saw it in the case of Y S Rajashekhara Reddy and now we are getting to witness it in the case of J Jayalalithaa. The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam on Saturday announced that 280 people had died following the death of Amma. It may be recalled that when YSR who was the chief minister of a unified Andhra Pradesh had died, his loyalists claimed 122 people had died in shock.
The Y S R Congress that was founded post the demise of Congress leader Y S Rajashekhara Reddy was built on the foundation of his popular image.
YSR's son Jagan Mohan Reddy shot to fame by visiting families of over 122 persons who the party claimed had died due to shock or committed suicide after YSR's death.
When Jayalalithaa was convicted in disproportionate case in 2014, the AIADMK claimed that more than 260 people had died, some of them had committed suicide. The party gave away compensation to their families.
Widespread violence following the death of former Tamil Nadu Chief minister M G Ramachandran took away 29 lives. 30 other people allegedly committed suicide following his death. The numbers are only swelling as years pass by. The compensation dolled out by parties is doing very little to discourage anyone from taking their own lives, at least according to what parties claim, sorrowed by a leader's demise.
Statistics matter to the party workers to create a huge impact and also try and suggest that their leader was a demi-god or a large than life personality. The media goes by these reports but none have been able to independently verify if these deaths were due to shocks or natural causes.
It was said that following the death of a leader, party workers visit hospitals and take names of persons who have died on the same day. It could be just a coincidence that a person had died on the same day. However for the party worker the statistic is what matters.
What is worse is that political parties dole out compensation to the kin of deceased as if to encourage such incidents. No political party speaks on how they arrive at such numbers. There is no refuting that most cases may not be death due to shock as claimed.