Jayalalithaa Jayaram, the chief minister of southern India’s Tamil Nadu state and one of the country’s most popular political leaders, died after a prolonged illness on Monday night. Political leaders from all around the country have expressed their grief on the passing away of the actress-turned-politician. The state government has announced December 6 as a public holiday to mark the legacy of Jayalalithaa who served as Tamil Nadu CM for over 15 years.
“It is with indescribable grief, we announce the sad demise of our esteemed honourable chief minister of Tamil Nadu … at 11:30pm (local time) today (Dec 5),” Chennai’s Apollo Hospital said in a statement.
In the evening, hundreds of thousands of people followed a slow-moving military truck carrying her body in a glass coffin to a beachside burial ground.
In New Delhi, lawmakers observed a minute’s silence Tuesday before both houses of Parliament were adjourned for the day in respect for the woman whom many referred to as “Amma,” or mother.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Jayalalithaa’s death left a “huge void in Indian politics.” He flew to Chennai, where he placed a wreath on the body. For Tamil Nadu, Jayalalithaa was no less than a supreme power as it’s figuratively apt that the state knows her as Amma. Her metamorphosis from that of a leading actress to a successful politician had been quite a journey. In her political career, hence, Jayalalithaa had demonstrated her sheer grit and emerged as one of the most influential leaders Indian history has endorsed.