TN Assembly pays rich tributes to Jaya

TN Assembly pays rich tributes to Jaya

The Tamil Nadu Assembly today paid rich tributes to late Chief Minister Jayalalithaa with her successor O Panneerselvam and DMK leader MK Stalin among others heaping encomiums on the former AIADMK general secretary.

In a sombre atmosphere, some ministers and MLAs were seen getting emotional and wiping tears as Panneerselvam, Stalin and others recalled the "illustrious" career of Jayalalithaa.

She passed away on December 5, 2016 following a cardiac arrest preceded by 75 days of hospitalisation.

Panneerselvam moved a resolution and in his introductory speech described December 5 as a "dark day for Tamil Nadu".

He recalled the political career of Jayalalithaa since her debut in politics in 1983 at the behest of her mentor and AIADMK founder MG Ramachandran.

He hailed Jayalalithaa as "gutsy" and said she later went on to lead the party.
"Amma received plaudits and appreciation from various political party leaders and their members for her oratorical skills, visionary schemes, her approach towards people and tireless hardwork," Panneerselvam said.

"She was known for strong will, keen sense of governance and had "established herself in ways that even made her rivals respect and laud her," he said.

The chief minister recalled her uniting AIADMK after MGR's death in 1987, adding she went on to become an "unparallelled leader".

Jayalalithaa led her party to a grand victory and became chief minister for the first time in 1991, repeating the success in 2001, 2011 and 2016 Assembly polls, he added.

"She was No.1 in everything, whether it be studies, dance, acting or politics, and therefore always strived to make the state numero uno in all fields," Panneerselvam said.

Among others, she established Tamil Nadu's rights in inter-state water disputes while ushering in 'Brand Amma' under which a number of schemes were running, he said.

The Leader of Opposition, Stalin, recalled that both he and Jayalalithaa had first entered the state Assembly in 1989.

He was a ruling DMK member, while she was Opposition Leader then, Stalin said.
Years later, she was once again Opposition Leader during the 2006-11 DMK regime where he was also Deputy Chief Minister, he added.

It also so happened that he had become the Opposition leader when Jaya was the chief minister i.e. after the May 2016 polls, the DMK leader said.

Stalin also recalled an incident last year where he was allotted seat in the 11th row for Jayalalithaa cabinet's swearing-in ceremony and when she later came to know about this, she expressed regret.

"She later issued a statement saying the intention was not to insult me or DMK and had also stressed on joint working for Tamil Nadu's welfare," he said.

Stalin further recalled his meeting with Jayalalithaa in 2005 when she was the Chief Minister, to present Rs 21 lakh collected by DMK towards tsunami relief.

"She had then enquired about Kalaignar (Karunandihi), and wanted me to convey her thanks to him," he said.

The DMK working president also recalled his visit to the Apollo Hospitals where Jaya was undergoing treatment and later leading his party in paying homage to her when her mortal remains were kept here, on the advice of his father and party chief M Karunanidhi.

"Her speciality was that she was unfazed in facing things," he added.
Congress member K R Ramasamy also paid tributes to the former chief minister, and expressed condolences on behalf of his party chief Sonia Gandhi and vice president Rahul Gandhi.

He recalled that Rahul Gandhi had attended Jayalalithaa's last rites. Speaker P Dhanapal also paid tributes to Jayalalithaa.

The resolution moved by Panneerselvam hailed Jayalalithaa as a "great daughter of Tamil Nadu" and a mass leader who enjoyed the whole-hearted support of Tamils across the world.

She led a selfless life, it said.The resolution condoled her death and expressed sympathies with the people of the state "who are grieved over her demise".

The House later observed a two-minute silence in respect of Jayalalithaa before adjourning for the day.

Earlier, obituary references were made to former Tamil Nadu Governor Surjit Singh Barnala, veteran journalist Cho S Ramaswamy, carnatic musician M Balamuralikrishna and former Cuban President Fidel Castro.

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