Chennai : Cries of “Amma” rent the air as a sea of humanity thronged the Rajaji Hall grounds on Tuesday to pay their last respects to AIADMK supremo and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, whose body lay in state in Chennai where normal life virtually came to a grinding halt. As tributes poured in from far and wide after the actress-turned-politicians’s death last night, the body of Jayalalithaa, which was draped in her favourite green colour saree, was 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).
Prime Minister Narendra Modi was among scores of political leaders who were headed to Chennai to pay tributes to the 68-year-old AIADMK chief.
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.
Jayalithaa’s long time confidante Sasikala Natarajan stood close to the casket.
Security has been beefed up at the venue where people lined up to bid a tearful adieu to their ‘Amma’ (mother) as Jayalithaa was fondly called.