J Jayalalithaa, revered by many as ‘Amma’ primarily because of her populist and pro-poor schemes during her reign as the chief minister of Tamil Nadu, passed away on Monday night after failing to recover from a sudden cardiac arrest she suffered a day earlier. She was 68. The four-time chief minister had been undergoing treatment at Apollo Hospitals in Chennai since September 22 following high-fever and dehydration.
Despite numerous controversies surrounding her political career, the actress-turned politician enjoyed a cult-like following in the state, largely due to her populist and pro-poor schemes. She came back to power in the 2016 assembly elections, becoming the first CM in 32 years to have been selected to serve consecutive terms.
Here is a timeline of events that happened since yesterday:
* The news that the AIADMK supremo was shifted back to the Intense Care Unit of the Apollo Hospital after suffering cardiac arrest on Sunday evening had triggered fresh fears among her ardent supporters who were already anxious about her precarious health condition. This came hours after the AIADMK said that Jayalalithaa would return home “soon” as an AIIMS expert team had confirmed that she had completely recovered after over two months of hospitalisation.
* Right through the day, Tamil Nadu was on edge, waiting anxiously on her health status. Late in the afternoon, emotions ran high across the state and confusion prevailed after local media networks reported that the Chief Minister had passed away. Heavy police forces were deployed outside the hospital in Chennai.
* With the state engulfed in a state of hysteria, police fought back crowds surging towards the hospital. The AIADMK flag at the party headquarters in Royapettah was immediately lowered to half-mast. But the flag was later raised to full-mast after Apollo Hospitals said that she was still alive, her condition critical. “Despite our best efforts, our beloved CM remains in a grave situation. Our team of expert doctors continue to closely monitor and treat the Honourable Chief Minister. However, her condition remains critical. A large team of doctors from Apollo and AIIMS continue to provide all life saving measures,” the hospital said in a series of tweets.
* Confirming the death of the CM, the Apollo Hospitals said in a statement, “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 pm.” The hospital added that every possible clinical attempt was made to sustain her revival.
WATCH | Tamil Nadu CM J Jayalalithaa Passes Away After Suffering Cardiac Arrest
* The death plunged the state into grief with a galaxy of political leaders and people across the country offering their condolences to the political stalwart.
* Senior AIADMK leader O. Panneerselvam, a trusted aide of Jayalalithaa, was sworn in as chief minister of the state amid a scene of gloom
* President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will join a chorus of political leaders who will travel to Chennai to pay their last respects to the four-time Chief Minister. Meanwhile, the Centre has declared a one-day state mourning on Tuesday in light of the demise of the four-time chief minister while the state government has announced a three-day mourning period.
* Over 6,000 security personnel have been deployed in the city to maintain law and order amid fears of riot.
* Parliament also condoled the death of Jayalalithaa saying the country has lost a courageous and charismatic leader, before adjourning the proceedings for the day as a mark of respect for the former chief minister.
* The funeral will take place at 4.30 pm Tuesday evening, the state government has confirmed. Jayalalithaa will be cremated next to the memorial of Dr MGR, her mentor, off Marina beach. Her mortal remains were brought to her house in the early hours of Tuesday and at 6 am it was taken to Rajaji Hall where thousands have gathered to pay their tributes to the leader.