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The last journey of J Jayalalithaa, the late chief minister of Tamil Nadu, saw a galaxy of political stars, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, come down to Chennai to tributes to her. Traffic came to a halt, as common people thronged the streets, united in their grief.
With the people's beloved Amma gone, speculations are rife about the future of Tamil politics. Her trusted aide of many years, O Panneerselvam, has been sworn in as chief minister but many believe it is Sasikala Natarajan, another Amma loyalist, who will be calling the shots.
One of the most elegant speakers among Indian politicians, Jayalalithaa was also known for her fiery temper and no-nonsense attitude. If her BBC Hard Talk interview with Karan Thapar is an instance of the former, the one where she spoke of her crushes with Simi Garewal captured her in a lighter mood.
With the death of Jayalalithaa and the absence of a will to decide on the inheritance of her fortunes, a huge question seems to hang over the fate of her Poes Garden bungalow and movable assets. Real estate experts in Chennai estimate the property at ₹90 crore. The future of this 24,000 square feet property is uncertain, with Jayalalithaa's companion Sasikala Natarajan moving into it, though her own family can stake a claim on it too.
Why was Jayalalithaa buried and not cremated, as per the usual practices of her community? Several theories have been floating about the last rites observed after her death. Here's a compilation of all of them.
While almost 95% of the 2 lakh ATMs have been recalibrated since demonetisation, there still isn't enough cash in most of these machines and about 35% of them are working. The reason for this mess is that most of the new currency is being directed to the banks, which are catering directly to their customers, leading to serpentine queues at every branch.
Off The Front Page
Days after the devastating railway accident involving the Patna Indore Express near Kanpur, at least 10 people were injured when two coaches of the Guwahati-bound Capital Express from Bihar's Rajendra Nagar Terminal derailed in North Bengal. The incident took place last night near Shamuktala Road Station close to Alupurduar. North East Frontier Railway officials said an accident relief train has already reached the spot from Alipurduar along with senior railway officials.
The Central government has ignored concerns expressed by policymakers to fund a five-day science festival that will help an NGO, with ties to Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, to make money, reports The Telegraph. Four government science departments are spending ₹3 crore each on the India International Science Festival, jointly organised with Vijnana Bharati, whose stated goals include promoting "swadeshi science" and "Bharatiya" heritage.
A day after the warship, INS Betwa, toppled at the naval dockyard in Mumbai, killing two and injuring 22, the Indian Navy is yet to figure out a way to lift it. The Navy does not have a crane big enough to lift the 3,850-tonne frigate and has sought the help of foreign experts.
Jayalalithaa's huge popularity, especially among women, owes to her welfare state policies that replaced male breadwinners with earning women, writes M Vijayabaskar in The Indian Express. "One factor that really requires understanding is that women voters tend to vote for the AIADMK disproportionately," the oped says. "Two sets of data put forth by the Lokniti-CSDS survey, conducted around the recently concluded TN assembly elections, support this proposition."
While democracy is a laudable principle to follow for nation-states, 2016 has shown the darker aspects of "extreme democracy", writes Bobby Ghosh in Mint. One of the ways in which it is manifested is through the use of referendums, of which there have been several this year, in Britain, where people opted to exit the European Union (EU); in Thailand, which decided in favour of a constitution giving the military a larger role; in Colombia, which cancelled President Juan Manuel Santos' peace deal with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia rebel group; and in Italy, which voted against constitutional reforms. All these decisions have proved to be detrimental to the countries that took them.
With demonetisation, there may have been a move towards online purchases but has it resulted in a real surge in such buying and does India have strong enough laws to protect digital consumers, asks an editorial in the Hindustan Times. According to a report by Redseers, a consulting firm, e-commerce has suffered heavily post demonetisation, since most people still prefer cash on delivery of products. Even though the situation is expected to get better, customers wouldn't be lured into buying online unless there are strict laws protecting their interests.
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