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Jaya dead, O Panneerselvam sworn in as CM

Chennai: TN Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, a popular leader who pioneered pro-poor programmes and remained a pole for three decades, died here tonight leaving a big void in the state politcs.

Jayalalithaa suffered a massive cardiac arrest on Sunday evening, passed away at 11:30 pm tonight, after battling for life for 75 days, the Apollo Hospitals said in a statement.

2 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 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 her admission to Apollo Hospitals on September 22.

Even as her death was announced, the AIADMK MLAs met at the party headquarters to elect Panneerselvam as the successor to Jayalalithaa.

Jayalalithaa, who scored a historic win in the assembly elections in the state little over six months ago, was admitted to Apollo Hospitals on September 22 with fever and dehydration but she could never recover.

A tinsel heroine, who inherited the legacy of her mentor late MGR, had entered politics in the early 1980s as the propaganda secretary of AIADMK and was made the incharge of the noon meal scheme undertaken by the MGR government.

Born in a Brahmin family, Jayalalithaa emerged as a fiesty leader in a state where forces of social justice had thrown up an anti-Brahmin political movement even before independence.

She practised politics on her own terms and was one of the two poles in the state for nearly 30 years fighting the DMK headed by redoubtable M Karunanidhi.

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.

Every possible clinical attempt was made to sustain her revival. However, despite our best efforts, the Chief Minister’s underlying conditions rendered her unable to recover and she passed away at 11:30 pm on Monday, the release said.

A five-time Chief Minister, Jayalalithaa pioneered a string of social sector schemes like ‘cradle to baby scheme’ aimed at fighting the curse of female foeticide, free gold coins for those who begot girl child.

Jayalalithaa also opened a series of public welfare schemes under brand Amma, as she was popularly called, like ‘Amma canteens’ to low-priced food to the urban poor. There were similar schemes for the poor like ‘Amma salt’ ‘Amma water’ and ‘Amma medicines’.

Amma also attracted investment, especially from abroad, in sectors like automobile and IT.

 

 

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