Grief-stricken fans on Tuesday mourned the death of one of India’s most popular politicians, Jayalalithaa Jayaram, as fears of unrest loomed in her state where she enjoyed almost god-like status.
The 68-year-old former film star was known simply as Amma, or mother, in her native Tamil Nadu where she remained wildly popular despite allegations of corruption, which saw her briefly jailed twice.
Famed for a vast sari collection that won her comparisons with Imelda Marcos, Jayalalithaa was also one of India’s most polarising politicians, seen by some as an autocratic and secretive leader.
But nothing could dent her popularity in Tamil Nadu, where she served three terms as chief minister during which it became one of India’s most prosperous states.
“Our beloved leader, the Iron lady of India… Amma, is no more,” her political party, AIADMK, said on Twitter.