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The Morning Wrap: J Jayalalithaa And Her Mixed Legacy; Remembering Ambedkar

Our selection of interesting news and opinion from the day's newspapers.

06/12/2016 8:52 AM IST | Updated 06/12/2016 9:31 AM IST
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Members of AIADMK party carry placards with the image of Jayalalithaa. ARUN SANKAR/AFP/Getty Images

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Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa passed away at the age of 68, leaving no clear successor and her supporters bereft. Jayalalithaa had been elected the chief minister of Tamil Nadu for the first time in 1991 and held office till 1996. Since then she has been elected three times to power -- in 2001, 2011 and 2015. Beginning her career with acting at the age of 15, she went on to feature in over a 100 films, before joining politics full-time. Her legacy was remembered by the prime minister, president and members from across the political spectrum.

Jayalalithaa's incredible grit and charisma helped her conquer the male-dominated world of politics, writes Vaasanthi, author of a biography of the politician. "She will also be remembered as an unforgiving leader, a vengeful opponent and an intolerant, ruthless chief minister who dragged journalists and opposition party leaders to court on defamation charges," the obituary goes on to say.

"Jayalalithaa's absence in Tamil Nadu politics is an eventuality that nobody in the state would have anticipated so soon and it's going to be the biggest challenge to the ruling AIADMK (All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam) because the party has absolutely no second line leadership," writes G. Pramod Kumar, charting out the possible scenarios for the party in the weeks to come.

Main News

In Jayalalithaa's absence, her close aide O Pannerselvam has been sworn in as the interim chief minister of Tamil Nadu. Panneerselvam is one of the most reliable members of AIADMK and had served as the chief minister when Jayalalithaa stepped down for the trial in the disproportionate assets case. Panneerselvam resigned as the chief minister on 22 May 2015 paving way for her to again sworn in as chief minister after the Karnataka High Court acquitted her in the case on 11 May 2015.

Cyrus Mistry, the ousted chairman of Tata Sons Ltd, said the government has an "inherent obligation" to "remedy and repair (the) breakdown" in the governance of Tata Trusts, the dominant shareholder in the group holding company.

A Class XII student's Facebook post with a half-consumed whisky bottle led to him and four of his friends being arrested today in chief minister Nitish Kumar's home district of Nalanda. After detecting the phone number from which the picture had been posted, the police put the number on surveillance and traced Vicky down. Subsequent raids led to the arrest of his four friends from Nalanda and Patna.

Off The Front Page

Five shehnais belonging to late musician and Bharat Ratna awardee Ustad Bismillah Khan have been stolen from his son's house in Varanasi. The theft was discovered late on Sunday night. Along with the five shehnais — four made of silver and the fifth a mix of silver and wood — a silver plate of the Inayat Khan award won by the maestro and two gold bangles have also gone missing from the house in the Dalmandi area of the temple city in Uttar Pradesh.

In her acting career, Jayalalithaa was not just a star of Tamil cinema but also won the hearts of Telugu audience. From the year 1964, with Manushulu Mamatalu and then Kathanaayakuni Katha, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa had acted in at least two dozen and more films in Telugu.

Assam became the first state in the country to implement the Sendai framework for disaster risk reduction, in association with Unicef and the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR). The Sendai framework is a voluntary, target-oriented disaster risk reduction agreement signed by all United Nations countries, including India, during the fourth World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction at Sendai, Japan, in March last year. The agreement is for 15 years.

Opinion

In the Hindustan Times, Jayanthi Natrajan describes Jayalalithaa as "an incredible woman. Person. Totally, defying description, out of the box. No template can ever capture her, nor adequate words describe the range of her extraordinary personality". A leader like her is not only exceptional in Indian politics but also rare among women in India.

On December 6 2016, the 60th anniversary of BR Ambedkar's death, Ramachandra Guha looks back at his legacy. "One can be certain that, unlike on the anniversary of his conversion to Buddhism, on this occasion many tributes will be offered to Ambedkar, from leaders across the political spectrum, these varying in their sincerity (or lack thereof)," he writes, before revisiting the historical circumstances of his death.

The Indian Constitution gives the government near omnipotent powers that are not consistent with a free society, writes Atanu Dey in Mint. "India's Constitution has the dubious distinction of being the largest in the world and consequently unreadable, and largely unread," he writes, "It gives the government enormous powers to intervene in the economy, to enact laws that discriminate among citizens based on attributes such as religion and caste, restricts freedom of speech, and limits the right to property."

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