J Jayalalithaa, the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu and one of India’s most powerful and popular politicians, died late on Monday in a Chennai hospital, nearly three months after she was admitted there. She was 68.
Ms Jayalalithaa had a cardiac arrest on Sunday evening and was rushed back to the Intensive Care Unit or ICU. Barely two weeks ago, after doctors and her party said she was fully recovered from a respiratory illness, she had been moved from the critical care unit to a private room kitted out with emergency equipment.
“It is with indescribable grief, we announce the sad demise of our esteemed honourable chief minister of Tamil Nadu at 11:30 pm (local time) today (December 5),” Chennai’s Apollo Hospital said in a statement released to the media after midnight.
Jayalalithaa’s body was brought to her residence, Poes Garden, past midnight and will be kept at Rajaji Hall for the public to pay their last respects. She will be cremated on Tuesday evening.
As a mark of respect to the former chief minister, the Tamil Nadu government has declared December 6 as a public holiday under the Negotiable Instruments Act.
Senior AIADMK MLA O Panneerselvam was sworn in as new chief minister of the state by Governor Vidyasagar Rao at an event in Raj Bhawan. The government has declared seven days of mourning, with education institutions set to be closed for three days.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted, “Deeply saddened at the passing away of Selvi Jayalalithaa. Her demise has left a huge void in Indian politics. My thoughts and prayers are with the people of Tamil Nadu in this hour of grief. May the Almighty grant them the strength to bear this irreparable loss with courage and fortitude,” adding, “Jayalalithaa ji’s connect with citizens, concern for welfare of the poor, the women and marginalized will always be a source of inspiration.”
In the evening, Apollo Hospitals released a statement saying a “large team” of doctors from AIIMS and Apollo are continuing to provide Jayalithaa with “life-saving measures”. They rubbished media reports, saying they were “totally baseless and false”. At the AIADMK headquarters in Royapettah, despite no official confirmation of her death, the party’s flag was seen flying at half-mast but was hoisted once again after Apollo Hospitals issued a denial of the former chief minister’s death.
A huge police contingent descended in the capital city to prevent any untoward incident. Supporters clashed with police outside Poes Garden as security personnel struggled to restore calm.
Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha adjourned for the day after obituary reference to Jayalalithaa.
President Pranab Mukherjee will also travel to Chennai today to pay last respects to former TN Chief Minister Jayalalithaa.
PM Narendra Modi emplanes for Chennai, will pay floral tributes to #JJayalalithaa who passed away, yesterday.
Jayalalithaa’s style of politics was hard and uncompromising, which made her a formidable adversary, says P Chidambara.
At Jayalalithaa’s funeral in Chennai today, Union Ministers Venkaiah Naidu and Pon Radhakrishnan will represent the Central Government.
Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi is also expected to leave for Chennai later in the day to pay his last respects to the leader.
6th December 2016 declared as public holiday under Negotiable Instrument Act as a mark of respect to J #Jayalalithaa: Govt of Tamil Nadu.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh appeals to public maintain calm. “I also appeal to the people of Tamil Nadu to remain calm in this hour of grief,” he tweeted.
She lived her entire life with same indomitable spirit with which she battled her illness: Sonia Gandhi
Popular,strong,bold,efficient, people- friendly,charismatic leader, Amma.Always at the heart of people. Big loss.I am shocked,saddened 1/2: Mamta Banerjee.
JJayalalithaa was not only strong, but also a good administrator; It’s a big setback for politics: Sumitra Mahajan, LS Speaker.
Assam Chief Minister Sarbanand Sonowal condoles passing away of Jayalalithaa.
India has lost one of its shining stars. #Jayalalithaaji made her mark both as artist and politician,deeply sad at her demise: GN Azad,Cong.
JJayalalithaa was true fighter & great inspiration to many women leaders across country: K Kavitha, TRS.
Maharashtra Assembly also adjourned for the day as it accepts the condolence motion moved by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
Movie star Rajnikanth paid respects to Jayalalithaa at Rajaji Hall.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to pay respects to deceased leader at Rajaji Hall at around 12:30 pm.
She struggled for poor people&took initiatives that other states followed. TN & whole country has lost a lot: Manohar Parrikar #jayalalithaa.