Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa passed away at 68 late on Monday evening, after failing to recover from a cardiac arrest she suffered on Sunday. Her death was confirmed by Apollo Hospitals, who had earlier denied media reports of her passing away. The hospital announced that Jayalalithaa passed away at 11.30 pm. “It is with indescribable grief that we announce the sad demise of esteemed CM,” read the statement from the Apollo management.
Her body was moved taken to her residence at Poes Garden in an ambulance. There was heavy presence of police personnel outside her residence and on all the roads leading to it. Jayalalithaa’s body will be kept at Rajaji Hall for the public to pay their last respects, AIADMK official Twitter handle posted. President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi are expected to arrive in Chennai today for the last rites. The state government announced seven days of mourning, with educational institutions set to be closed down for three days.
Politicians cutting across party lines have paid rich tributes to the departed leader. PM Modi expressed his sadness over her death, saying that her “demise has left a huge void in Indian politics”. Congress President Sonia Gandhi and son Rahul Gandhi said that she would be sorely missed. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal were also among those who paid their respects. Her longtime aide and senior party leader O Panneerselvam took oath as the new chief minister, along with 33 ministers. Before the announcement of her death, Panneerselvam chaired a meeting at the AIADMK headquarters in Royapettah and conveyed the news to the party’s 132 MLAs. Panneerselvam was sworn-in by Governor Vidyasagar Rao at a gathering of party leaders at Raj Bhawan. It was the third time he assumed office, first in 2001 and then in 2014. Jayalalithaa was admitted to Apollo on September 22. She spent 75 days at the hospital, where she was regularly monitored by a team of specialists.
Our beloved leader, The Iron Lady of India Puratchi Thalaivi Amma is no more.
— AIADMK (@AIADMKOfficial) December 5, 2016
Earlier today, PM Modi was briefed by Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu. Security was heightened outside Apollo Hospitals and in Chennai. At least 6,000 police personnel descended on the capital to ensure that law and order is not disturbed. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh also said that law and order will not be a problem in Tamil Nadu. There was high drama today evening outside Apollo and AIADMK headquarters in Royapettah. A scuffle broke out between AIADMK supporters and police after news of her “death” was widely reported by the media. The party flag was also seen flying at half mast before it was hoisted again amid sloganeering supporters.