Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa will not be able to attend the funeral of former President APJ Abdul Kalam owing to bad health.
This is for the second time that the AIADMK supremo has accepted that she is not keeping well. In a statement issued by the chief minister's office, Jayalalithaa explained her inability: "I would like to attend his funeral and pay my respects to him. However, owing to my health condition I am not in a position to travel," she said in Chennai. Kalam's funeral will be organised in his hometown Rameswaram, which is around 600 km from the state capital.
Rumours about Jayalalithaa's illness has only intensified in recent times. She has not been seen in public for long and her visits to the secretariat have become a rarity in the last few months. Earlier on 1 July, she acknowledged for first time of not keeping well when she was unable to attend an iftar party in Chennai. However when Rediff.com published a report which claimed that she was suffering from a serious health ailment, she sued the website.
Meanwhile several ministers including Finance Minister O Panneerselvam, Electricity Minister Natham R Viswanathan, Housing Minister R Vaithilingam and others will attend the funeral on behalf of the Tamil Nadu government.
As a mark of respect for Kalam, Tamil Nadu government has declared Thursday as a public holiday in the state. Accepting a request from Kalam's family, land has been allotted by the government to bury the mortal remains of the former president, who died on Monday in Shillong.