December 5, 2017
Major roads in Chennai were choked with traffic as even arterial roads including Anna Salai, Kamarajar Salai and some feeder roads to Marina Beach were blocked as AIADMK cadres and leaders congregated the Amma memorial on the first death anniversary of Purtatchi Thalaivi Amma late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa.
Traffic was affected even some 5 km away in Adyar and surrounding areas as buses, trucks and tempos brought cadres from different parts of southern Tamil Nadu to congregate on the Marina beach to pay their homage to the departed leader.
Such was the mass of people that were gorged by the innumerable buses and other vehicles on the beach that it took some 1500 police officers and men to try and get the traffic moving somehow. But, traffic snarls were the order of the day as enthusiastic cadres and their buses rushed in where they ought not to have and created chaos on the road.
But, it was the ever-efficient TN’s Chennai Traffic Police that restored order and discipline the motorists. It also ordered traffic diversions to ease the flow of traffic.
Joint commissioners, deputy commissioners and assistant commissioners were on their feet from early morning to guide the crowds to the venue – Amma memorial to walk past silently. But the common people were kept a little distance away as the AIADMK leaders were to come to pay their respects.
First among the prominent ones to pay their homage were the Chief Minister Edapaddi Palaniswami, deputy chief minister and AIADMK party joint coordinator O Panneerselvam and scores of ministers of the state and senior party leaders. AIADMK cadres and leaders took out a silent march – all donning black shirts and white dhotis – to mark the first death anniversary of Jayalalithaa on Tuesday.
Close to one lakh people, at rough estimates, were present at Marina beach memorial of Amma. Around 1 lakh people gathered near Jayalalithaa’s memorial to observe the anniversary.
At around noon, traffic police stopped vehicular movement near Gandhi statue and diverted it to Anna Salai. Vehicles were also stopped near Napier Bridge and diverted to Anna Salai through Periyar Statue.
Many vehicles ferrying cadres were diverted to areas along the sea coast – and most cadres could be seen walking to the Amma memorial, in some cases a walk of over few kms.
For the common man though, like what happened in Coimbatore, first anniversary meant more banners and posters, though not on a scale witnessed recently in the western TN city of Coimbatore. The chief minister and deputy chief minister led a silent protest of cadres from Anna Salai to Amma mausoleum on Marina beach.
Jayalalithaa, who was admitted to Chennai’s Apollo Hospital passed away on this day the previous year after spending 75 days in the hospital. Her death sparked off a huge controversy with OPS and his supporters demanding a judicial inquiry to the death and circumstances leading to her death as also treatment that was given to the late chief minister.
At present a one-man commission of inquiry is probing the Jayalalithaa death.