Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa is no more. A popular leader, with six terms as a Chief Minister, was immensely popular for the pro-poor programmes she pioneered during her career and remained a pole for three decades in Tamil Nadu politics. She has been admitted in Chennai’s Apollo Hospital since September 22.
The 68-year-old leader, who suffered a massive cardiac arrest on Sunday evening, passed away at 11:30 pm on Monday night, after battling for life for 75 days, the Apollo Hospital said in a statement.
Two hours after the announcement of her death, in a swift political transition, her loyalist O Panneerselvam was sworn in as Chief Minister at a sombre ceremony at the Raj Bhawan along with all the 31 ministers in the erstwhile Jayalalithaa cabinet.
Panneerselvam had stepped into her shoes twice earlier when she was convicted in corruption cases. As Finance Minister, he was given charge of the portfolios held by Jayalalithaa after she was hospitalised with fever and dehydration.
Earlier on Monday, hundreds of AIADMK workers had gathered in front of the Apollo Hospital. With the hospital announcing her condition as “very critical”, the crowds had begun to passionately pray for Jaya’s health.
Emotions ran high among supporters of the 68-year-old leader, popularly known as “Amma”, or “Mother” in Tamil. Supporters could be seen in tears as they stood praying for their leader.
Supporters sought divine intervention for their leader’s quick recovery. Some dejected workers were also seen wailing after the news that her health had deteriorated.
Only hours earlier in the evening, the hospital had denied reports that Jayalalithaa had died as “baseless and false” when TV channels said she was no more. However, by later in the night, the hospital came up with unfortunate announcement.
“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 today,” Apollo Hospitals said in a statement.
“Our honourable Chief Minister Selvi J Jayalalithaa was admitted on 22.9.2016 with complaints of fever and dehydration and underlying co-morbidities. The honourable Chief Minister responded well to the multi-disciplinary care in the Critical Care Unit and subsequently recovered substantially to being able to take food orally.
“On this basis, honourable Chief Minister was shifted from the Advanced Critical Care Unit to the High Dependency Unit, where her health and vitals continued to improve under the close monitoring by our expert panel of specialists.”
Unfortunately, the hospital release said, the Chief Minister suffered a massive cardiac arrest on the evening of December 4 even while the intensivist was in her room. The Chief Minister was immediately administered rescusitation (CPR) and provided ECMO support within the hour.
Jayalalithaa’s mortal remains has been taken to her Poes Garden residence early morning on Tuesday.