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Published On: Tue, Dec 6th, 2016

India’s most popular politicians, will be buried today

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CHENNAI : J Jayalalithaa, one of India’s most popular politicians, will be buried this evening at Chennai’s Marina Beach, next to the memorial of her mentor, MG Ramachandran.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi  places a wreath to pay his respects to Jayalalithaa. Consoles Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam and Jayalalithaa’s close aide Sasikala. Mr Modi pays his last respects to Jayalalithaa at Rajaji Hall in Chennai.

In a s⁠urprise deviation of protocol , Prime Minister Narendra Modi drives down from INS Adyar to Rajaji Hall in a car without beacon and National Flag.

Ms Jayalalithaa, 68, died at 11.30 pm, unable to recover from a huge cardiac arrest that forced her onto life support systems on Sunday evening. Lakhs of people are visiting her body, in a casket draped in the national flag, at Rajaji Hall, a huge public auditorium.

State Ministers, AIADMK legislators, parliamentarians, party functionaries are sitting by her feet. Her close aide Sasikala and her relatives are in attendance, next to her body.

Leaders across party lines, film fraternity, industrialists and eminent persons are visiting Rajaji Hall.The funeral, scheduled at around 4:30 pm, is expected to be attended by several Chief Ministers and political leader

Jayalalithaa was known as Amma or mother. Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid his respects in person before her funeral takes place at 4.30 pm.Ms Jayalalithaa served four times as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. Twice, she had to quit office because of corruption allegations.

In each case, loyalist O Panneerselvam stood in for her. He took oath as Chief Minister last night for a third term. Ms Jayalalithaa died at Apollo Hospital, where she was admitted on September 22 with complaints of fever and dehydration.

Her condition soon worsened and she was treated for a serious lung ailment. For many weeks, she was on support systems in the Intensive Care section. President Pranab Mukherjee’s plane to Chennai returned to Delhi with a technical problem. He took another flight to attend the funeral.
Sasikala Natarajan, her long-time companion, remained near the politician’s body today. She was seen adjusting the green sari that Ms Jayalalithaa was dressed in. Green was the leader’s favourite colour, she felt it was lucky for her.
Weeping women and men were seen hitting their heads and beating their chests, wailing “Amma, Amma” in grief. In huge relief for the administration, there has been no violence since the news of Ms Jayalalithaa’s death. For lakhs whose devotion to her bordered on the religious, self-harming shows of loyalty were not uncommon.

When she was arrested on corruption charges in 2014, her party said 200 people committed suicide in anger and sorrow. Public buses were set on fire. From within jail, the politician asked – as urged by the Supreme Court – for calm to be maintained.

Ms Jayalalithaa was revered especially by the rural poor for the vast amount of giveaways she provided – mixer-grinders, laptops – ahead of elections.In recent years, her government introduced the Amma brand of massively subsidised water, canteens and medicines which endeared her further to the poor, while stressing the state’s finances.

Earlier this year, Ms Jayalalithaa beat a nearly three-decade-long tradition to be re-elected as Chief Minister. Before that, Tamil Nadu alternated between choosing Ms Jayalalithaa and political adversary, the DMK.

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