Many woke up today to headlines screaming in various ways, the passing of Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Jayalalithaa. The ‘goddess’ of Tamil Nadu politics passed away yesterday night at 23:30 at Apollo Hospital, Chennai. Thousands of her supporters gathered to pray for Amma’s recovery after news of her cardiac arrest surfaced.
Jayaram Jayalalithaa was one of India’s well known politicians, both revered and in midst of controversies in equal measures. She was revered for playing a key role in the economic development of Tamil Nadu and for launching various measures to help out the poor in her state. She was elected as the Chief Minister of the state four times, each time, overcoming convections and jail terms.
Extra police have been deployed in the state now due to fear of unrest amongst her supporters. News about her death has been doing rounds ever since she was first admitted on September 22. But all chalked up to be rumours, the confirmed news of her passing away yesterday is feared to send her supporters over the edge. The actress turned politician had an almost cult like following for the work she’d done for the state, even earning her the title, the ‘Iron Lady of India’. At the news of her passing, Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu tweeted – “I am so sad and felt that I lost my own sister.”
Reports state that all her supporters, who lined up at the hospital, praying for her recovery, let out a collective wail of cry as the ambulance carrying her body emerged from the hospital. The police line guarding the vehicle was almost broken by the throng of her well-wishers trying to reach for their Amma. Amidst all this, Jayalalithaa’s niece, Deepa Jayakumar, was once again denied access to her aunt. The AIADMK members yet again, refused to let her see her aunt at the hospital, even leading to a scuffle.
Jayalalithaa was born in 1948, her father passing away when she was just two years old. He was a lawyer who squandered away all their family fortune. She appeared in more than 140 films, earning her a reputation as a good actress. Growing up, she had professional training in acting, dance and music. Introduced to politics by actor turned Chief Minister MG Ramachandran, who was her co-star in many of her films and elected to the Tamil Nadu assembly in 1989, there was no looking back for her after.