J Jayalalithaa passes away, Tamil Nadu government declares seven-day mourning
As national leaders expressed grief over the death of J Jayalalithaa, Tamil Nadu government declared a seven-day mourning. Schools and colleges in the state will be closed for three days
Chennai: Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa, one of India's most charismatic political leaders, died here on Monday night after a bitter 74-day battle for life, ending an era in Tamil Nadu politics and plunging the state in deep grief. She was 68.
Jayalalithaa, a spinster, breathed her last at the Apollo Hospitals just before midnight, over 24 hours after she suffered a cardiac arrest that derailed the halting progress she had been making on the health front.
"It is with indescribable grief, we announce the sad demise of our esteemed Honourable Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Puratchi Thalaivi Amma at 11.30 p.m.," the hospital said in a statement.
As Jayalalithaa's death became known, a loud wail rent the air outside the Apollo hospital where thousands had gathered since her cardiac arrest on Sunday evening, hoping against hope that she would survive.
Her body was taken to her residence at Poes Garden, where hundreds of AIADMK cadre were present. Police used batons to keep inconsolable mourners away who tried to break the security barricades outside their leader's house.
The body will be kept at the Rajaji Hall for people to pay their respects, said the AIADMK, which the actor-turned-politician headed for nearly three decades after the death of her mentor and Chief Minister M.G. Ramachandran or MGR.
The last rites will be held at the Marina Beach later on Tuesday.
As national leaders expressed grief, the Tamil Nadu government declared a seven-day mourning. Schools and colleges in the sprawling state will be closed for three days.
In no time, the AIADMK legislators elected Finance Minister and long-time Jayalalithaa loyalist O. Panneerselvam to succeed the departed leader.
Shortly after 1 a.m. on Tuesday, Panneerselvam took the oath of office and secrecy. Thirty-one ministers were also sworn-in with him.
Supporters hold a photograph of J. Jayalalithaa as they offer prayers for her well being at a temple in Mumbai on December 5, 2016. Pic/AFP
Jayalalithaa was a leading actress in 140 films of several languages from 1961 to 1980, before entering politics. She was a member of the Rajya Sabha, elected from Tamil Nadu, from 1984 to 1989.
A tinsel heroine, who inherited the legacy of her mentor late MGR, had entered politics in the early 1980s as the propaganda secretary of AIADMK and was made the incharge of the noon meal scheme undertaken by the MGR government.
Born in a Brahmin family, Jayalalithaa emerged as a fiesty leader in a state where forces of social justice had thrown up an anti-Brahmin political movement even before independence. She practised politics on her own terms and was one of the two poles in the state for nearly 30 years fighting the DMK headed by redoubtable M Karunanidhi.
Jayalalithaa, who was the second Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu after Janaki Ramachandran, served as Chief Minister from 1991 to 1996, in 2001, from 2002 to 2006 and from 2011 to 2014. She became the first incumbent chief minister in India to be disqualified from holding office due to conviction in a disproportionate assets case on 27 September 2014.
The Karnataka High Court acquitted Jayalalithaa in the disproportionate assets case on 11 May 2015, and she resumed office as Chief Minister on 23 May.
Jayalalithaa was re-elected as Chief Minister on May 19, 2016 and took the oath as Chief Minister for the sixth time on May 23, May 2016.
22 September 2016: Jayalalithaa is hospitalised after she complains of fever and dehydration.
10 October 2016: Apollo Hospitals announces 'Jayalalithaa is under respiratory support'. M K Stalin, DMK head, meets her.
17 November 2016: AIADMK leader says, "She's breathing without respiratory support as her infection has been cured"
4 December 2016: "The AIIMS doctors visited the hospital yesterday and after examining her (Jayalalithaa's) health, they shared the good news with us that Amma has completely recovered," party spokesperson C Ponnaiyan says. Later she suffers cardiac arrest.
5 December 2016: Apollo Hospital declares her dead at 11.30 pm
- With inputs from agencies
Narendra Modi: I will always cherish the innumerable occasions when I had the opportunity to interact with Jayalalithaa ji. May her soul rest in peace.
Arvind Kejriwal: V sad to hear the demise of Amma. A very very popular leader. Aam admi's leader. May her soul rest in peace.
Amitabh Bachchan: Deeply grieved at the passing of Jayalalita ji .. a strong woman
Virender Sehwag: Prayers for maintenance of peace in Tamil Nadu. Strength to near and dear ones.
Dhanush: #RIPAmma. The end of THE most inspirational era of Tamilnadu Politics. You leave behind a vast vacuum.
Kris Srikkanth: #RIPAmma #IronLady of india you battled the odds and was an inspiration to all! You were the most charismatic woman I have ever come to know
Vasuki Bhaskar: Great loss. Epitome of courage strength #IronladymyCM U will be forever missed. May u find peace.
Mamata Banerjee: Popular, strong, bold, efficient, people-friendly, charismatic leader, Amma. Always at the heart of people. Big loss. I am shocked, saddened
Shivraj Singh Chouhan: Deeply grieved to learn of the sad demise of Chief Minister #Jayalalithaa. My heartfelt condolences to the people of Tamil Nadu.
Mohammad Kaif: End of an Era. Condolences to people of Tamil Nadu on passing away of #jayalalithaa ji. May there be peace.
Jayalalithaa sworn in as Tamil Nadu CM for second consecutive term