Mortal remains of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and supremo of AIADMK party J. Jayalalithaa were laid to rest with full State honours alongside her mentor MGR’s memorial on Marina beach in Chennai on Tuesday. The last rites were performed by her long time associate Sasikala Natarajan in the presence of a galaxy of political leaders and several Chief Ministers as millions bid tearful adieu to their beloved leader who passed away on Monday night in Apollo Hospital.
The 68-year old AIADMK Chief passed breathed her last on Monday night after suffering a massive cardiac arrest. She was under treatment in the hospital for the last 74 days for various ailments but could not come out of the heart attack and failed to respond to the treatment. Her body was taken to her Poes Garden residence before being taken to Rajaji Hall. Millions of people from all walks of life paid their last respects to the departed leader who had changed the course of Tamil Nadu politics and endeared herself as “”Amma”” not only to her party workers but also people in rural areas and towns alike.
President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi today homage to Jayalalithaa by offering flowers at Rajaji Hall in Chennai.
Both Houses of Parliament were adjourned for the day on Tuesday as a mark of respect to J. Jayalalithaa. In her obituary reference, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumithra Mahajan described Jayalalithaa as a true leader of the masses and a multifaceted personality. She said, in her demise, the country has lost a highly popular and eminent public persona.
Rajya Sabha Chairman Mohd Hamid Ansari said the country has lost a prominent leader, a distinguished parliamentarian and an able administrator. He said, as Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, her contributions towards the economic development of the state and social welfare of the poorer segments will be remembered long and cherished. Mr Ansari said, her demise is an irreparable loss to the people of India. Members in both the Houses observed silence to pay homage to the memory of the departed leader.
Jayalalithaa was a member of the Rajya Sabha from 1984 to 1989.
Jayalalithaa served four times as Tamil Nadu chief minister and had to quit twice because of corruption allegations. Her loyalist and finance minister O Panneerservam stood in for her and he has also taken over the reins of the administration as chief minister after her demise.
Born on February 24, 1948 in Mysore district in Karnataka, she became a popular film actress in the 60s and 70s and partnered with MGR another hugely popular hero of Tamil films who was also her mentor. They did 28 films together and she entered politics under his guidance in 1982. After MGR’s death, she withstood humiliation but came back with great following of the party and became chief minister in 1991. She had a cult like devotion and over the past few years showered the electorate with gifts like mixers, cookers, television sets, laptops, grinders. She also launched Amma Canteen, a hugely popular eating joint for people from lower segment of the society.
After Amma who in Tamil Nadu? This question is going to haunt the people and the political parties in the State for a long time. The AIADMK would need to put up a united front, if the party wants to rule the State and take forward her programmes and legacy further. Only time will tell, how successful the party emerges from these trying times.”