Tamil Nadu CM Dr. J. Jayalalithaa is no more

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In what came as a shocking news to many, the CM of Tamil Nadu, Dr. J. Jayalalithaa had passed away yesterday (05/12/2016) at 11:30 pm. There was plenty of confusion and speculation about her death right from 5:00 pm yesterday. The AIADMK office in Chennai had raised a half – mast party flag at 5:00 pm. Some TV channels like the Tanthi TV took the half – mast flag as a sure indication of her death and flashed the news about her death at around 5:00 pm. Other Tamil, Kannada, Hindi and Telugu channels were quick to follow suite and had reported the news of her death shortly after Tanthi TV did (around 5:30 pm). Curiously the AIADMK office had raised the half – mast flag to full height at around 5:45 pm yesterday, causing confusion over the news of the death of Jayalalithaa. The doctors of Apollo hospital announced at around 7:00 pm yesterday, that the news about Dr. J. Jayalalithaa’s death is false and requested the TV channels to revert their announcement about her death. At around 4:00 pm yesterday, it was announced by the doctors of Apollo, that Dr. J. Jayalalithaa had suffered a cardiac arrest. Ever since the announcement, people had been gathering in huge numbers at the gates of Apollo hospital. The police force in TN had to be deployed to prevent riots. The speculation and drama on her death continued till 11:30 pm yesterday night, when the doctors of Apollo finally announced that Dr. J. Jayalalithaa had passed away.

Dr. J. Jayalalithaa was affectionately called as ‘Amma’ (meaning mother) in Tamil Nadu. She had lost her father at the young age of three years and was raised by her mother since then. She had one elder brother. She entered into acting at the young age of thirteen years and has since then acted in over 140 Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Hindi movies. She was a well renowned actress, dancer and singer who sang over 40 songs. Personally though Dr. J. Jayalalithaa never liked acting and only did it out of compulsion (her family situation) in the early days of her acting career. Later on she worked under M.G. Ramachandran (MGR) as his personal secretary until his demise in 24th December 1987. Post MGR’s demise, she took over as the leader of the AIADMK political party. She ruled the state of Tamil Nadu five times as the Chief Minister (CM) from 1991 to 2016. Her name was formerly Dr. J. Jayalalithaa till 2001 when she changed her name to Dr. J. Jayalalithaa for numerological reasons. The Tamil films she had acted in include: Epistle (debut), Sri Shaila Mahathme (debut in Kannada), Man Mauji (debut in Hindi), Ayirathil Oruvan, Kanni Thai, Thanipiravi, Gowri Kalyanam, Kumari Penn, Yaar nee?, Enga Mama, Adi Parashakti, Shakthi Leelai, Doctor Babu, Jesus (debut in Malayalam), Kanavan Manaivi, Shri Krishna Leelai, Unnai Suttrum Ulagam just to name a few. The songs which she had sung include: Amma Endraal Anbu, Oh Meri Dilruba, Kangalil Aayiram, Madras Mail, Maariyamma Muthu Maariyamma etcetera, just to name a few.

Dr. J. Jayalalithaa’s political achievements are also many. Especially during her last term as the CM (2010 – 2015), she had introduced many welfare schemes which had touched the hearts of the people of T.N. They include:

  • Brand Amma:

    Under this scheme, the government rolled out a plethora of welfare schemes like free laptops for students, canteens with subsidized food called ‘Amma Unnavagam’ for the homeless. Apart from the mid-day meal scheme, Jayalalithaa introduced breakfast meals across government schools. Jayalalithaa also manufactured and sold Amma soap, Amma cement, Amma salt etcetera at cheap prices which was useful for the masses.

  • Stabilized power situation in TN:

    Rampant power cuts were a major problem across the towns, villages and cities of Tamil Nadu from 2010 to 2014. Some villages in TN experienced power cuts for more than twelve hours a day. Small industries in TN were also on the verge of closure owing to power cuts. Jayalalithaa in her second consecutive term tackled this problem by giving a investing in solar energy. The government also provided 200-750 units of free electricity to handloom weavers.

  • Gold scheme for women’s ‘Thali’:

    The government of TN provided 4gms of gold for women’s marriage thread (called ‘Thali’ in Tamil) along with cash assistance of Rs. 25, 000 as marriage assistance.

  • Phased prohibition of liquor:

    While the opposition parties in TN (DMK) called for a total prohibition of liquor, Dr. J. Jayalalithaa supported a phased prohibition of liquor where 500 liquor shops were shut down and the timings of the shops were changed to 10:00 am to 12:00 pm.

  • Mullaperiyar dam:

    The Supreme Court in its May 2nd, 2014 verdict had announced that the 120-year-old dam is safe and allowed Tamil Nadu to raise the water level to 142 feet. The dam located in Thekaddy is owned and operated by the Tamil Nadu government.  The court’s judgment was considered a ‘sweet victory’ for the state and the increase in water levels greatly helped the agricultural communities.

  • The Cradle Baby scheme:

    In this scheme, parents, who don’t have the money to raise their baby on their own, are allowed to anonymously hand over newborns to Cradle baby centers. They are well equipped with lifesaving drugs, bed sheets, gas connections and other facilities. The centers have been set up in various districts across Tamil Nadu like, Madurai, Theni, Dindigul, Dharmapuri, Erode and Namakkal.

  • Global investors meet:

    In September, 2015, the TN government attracted investments worth Rs. 2.42 lakh crores from foreign investors across various sectors. Jayalalithaa was lauded for ensuring huge investments.

  • Other achievements:

    In 2003, Jayalalithaa banned the sale of all lotteries, including online, in the state of Tamil Nadu, despite knowing the fact that the move will cause loss of revenue to the state. The dreaded sandalwood smuggler Veerappan was also killed during this time in her tenure as the CM. It was a joint police operation between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. She also founded and owned her own TV channel, Jaya TV.

Dr. J. Jayalalithaa’s achievements in the film and political domain are many. She will be remembered throughout India as a ‘legend’ rather than just another politician or woman. Read more on Startup News

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