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With a bitter irony Jayalalithaa was surrounded, in death, by precisely those people she banished during her lifetime. Her close aide Sasikala Natarajan's family, who she had kept at arm's length, crawled out of the woodwork and occupied every inch of the space around her body as it was laid in state. TS Sudhir tells us why eyebrows were raised at this spectacle.
In a shocking tragedy, a Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) aircraft with 47 passengers on board crashed in a hilly area near the garrison town of Abbottabad while on its way to the capital. PK-661 was carrying singer-turned-Islamic-preacher Junaid Jamshed among others, all of whom are feared dead.
Manu Joseph revisits his memories of Jayalalithaa, especially her image of being a glamour queen in Tamil cinema and the attendant controversies that plagued her since her association with MG Ramachandran. While analysing her triumph over a male-dominated political world Joseph wonders if Jayalalithaa, in her own mode of functioning, was much better than the men she took on.
How were Jayalalithaa's last days? Going by this account in The Times of India, she seemed to have been in good spirits, mostly, during her 75 day stay at the hospital, cooperative and occasionally difficult. She told her nurses about the best tea served at her Poes Garden residence, didn't like the hospital coffee and ate a bit of the food sent specially by her cook after some coaxing.
A month after the government's announcement to demonetise old currency notes about 80% of the invalid currency have been deposited into banks, but the replacement has been sluggish. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) revealed that against deposits worth ₹11.5 lakh crore from customers, it had pumped in just ₹3.81 lakh crore worth of new notes, leaving a ₹7.7-lakh-crore unmet demand for notes.
The Pakistanis arrested for helping to orchestrate the Uri attacks are allegedly students of Class X, a report in The Indian Express claims. The Ministry of External Affairs said the two had confessed to facilitating the "infiltration of a group of four Jaish-e-Muhammad cadre who carried out the Uri army camp attack".
Off The Front Page
At least 77 people have died from the shock of learning about J Jayalalithaa's grave illness and eventual death, claims her party, All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK). Several others have tried self-immolation and one had even chopped off his fingers as a mark of grief. The party has decided to give compensations worth ₹3 lakhs to each of the families of the dead and bear the expenses of the treatment of the injured.
The interim chairman of Tata Sons, Ratan Tata, said the ousted chairman Cyrus Mistry's continued presence on the boards is disruptive to the smooth functioning of the group. He also said the "deliberated action" to remove Mistry by the Tata Sons board was taken after the relationship with him steadily deteriorated, and "several attempts to remediate went unheeded".
Believe it or not, Donald Trump is Time magazine's Person of the Year. Trump's response on being chosen was characteristic of him. "It's a great honour. It means a lot. I have grown up reading Time magazine, it's a very important magazine. It is a tremendous honor, I am lucky to be on the cover of Time in the past," he said.
The abiding interest in vote-bank politics is stalling the implementation of an important law that could punish so-called honour killings, says an editorial in the Hindustan Times. The reason behind such a failure, as Left leader Brinda Karat puts it is "vote-bank politics," which involves "the appeasement of the most retrograde social forces such as those who lead the orthodox caste panchayats".
In Mint, Jaithirth Rao analyses the dismal performance of liberal parties at the hustings. Starting with the Swatantra Party but moving to other small and large entities from across India, he shows what it takes for a political party to succeed in an electoral democracy.
Former Chief Election Commissioner SY Quraishi says Prime Minister Narendra Modi's move to demonetise old currencies will have a tangible and positive effect on election financing. "All political parties use black money to finance their campaigns and to bribe voters," he writes in The Indian Express. In this sense, the PM's move was expedient, "since elections to five state assemblies are round the corner, this is the time when the money would have been moving". "The exact impact" of this policy, he goes on to write, "would be known during and after the elections".
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