Jayalalithaa laid to rest with full state honours; Leaders, public pay final tributes

RSTV Bureau
Chennai: V Sasikala, the close aide of Tamil Nadu's former Chief Minister Jayaram Jayalalithaa near her mortal remains kept at Rajaji Hall for public viewing in Chennai, December 6, 2016. Photo - PTI

Chennai: V Sasikala, the close aide of Tamil Nadu’s former Chief Minister Jayaram Jayalalithaa near her mortal remains kept at Rajaji Hall for public viewing in Chennai, December 6, 2016.
Photo – PTI

J Jayalalithaa, the departed Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, was burried with full state honours on Tuesday evening as thousands, including dignitaries and political leaders, bid a final farewell in Chennai. In a sandalwood casket, Jaya was burried near to her mentor MG Ramachandran’s memorial off the Marina beach in the state capital.

Her long time confidante Sasikala Natarajan, who stood close to the casket at Rajaji Hall throughout the day, was at the forefront too when Jayalalithaa was laid to rest.

Draped in favourite green colour saree with a red border, her mortal remains were taken from her Poes Garden residence in an army truck. Thousands of people had lined up to bid a tearful homage in the 3-kilometer long funeral procession.

Earlier in the day, a sea of humanity — from supporters, party workers and cinestars to politicians — had thronged the Rajaji Hall grounds paying homage to the departed leader.

President Pranab Mukherjee joined the leaders across the country to pay homage to the late Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. His arrival in Chennai was delayed as the Indian Air Force plane carrying President returned to Delhi after developing technical snag mid-air.

Chennai: Prime Minister Narendra Modi greets supporters of Tamil Nadu's former Chief Minister Jayaram Jayalalithaa, after paying his last respects to her at Rajaji Hall in Chennai, December 6, 2016. Photo - PTI

Chennai: Prime Minister Narendra Modi greets supporters of Tamil Nadu’s former Chief Minister Jayaram Jayalalithaa, after paying his last respects to her at Rajaji Hall in Chennai, December 6, 2016.
Photo – PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who arrived in Chennai soon after noon, paid floral tributes at Rajaji Hall. In a series of tweets last night, Prime Minister Modi had condoled Jayalalithaa’s demise, terming it as leaving a “huge void” in Indian politics. “Deeply saddened at the passing away of Selvi Jayalalithaa. Her demise has left a huge void in Indian politics,” PM Modi had tweeted.

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi along with Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad also paid homage to Jayalalithaa at Rajaji Hall. He later attended the funeral later in the evening. Several other leaders across the political parties, including  Central ministers paid last respects to the departed CM at her funeral.

As tributes poured in from far and wide after the actress-turned-politicians’s death last night, the mortal remains of Jayalalithaa were taken from her Poes Garden residence early this morning to Rajaji Hall where tens of thousands of people queued up to have a last glimpse of their ‘Puratchi Thalaivi Amma’ (Revolutionary Leader Amma).

As the casket carrying the body of six-time chief minister was placed on the steps of Rajaji Hall, in the heart of the city off arterial Anna Salai, four Army men covered it with the national Tricolour.

Chief Minister O Panneerselvam and his ministerial colleagues, MPs and MLAs and senior state government officials were among the first to pay homage to Jayalalithaa, who passed away at the Apollo Hospitals here at 11.30 last night after waging a grim battle for life since her hospitalisation on September 22.