Invoking the legacy of late Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said her absence was dearly felt during the inauguration of the national memorial for former President APJ Abdul Kalam here. Addressing her as Amma (mother), as she was popularly called, Modi said though the AIADMK stalwart was no more, her blessings would be with the state for its “bright future.” “If Amma was here in our midst, if she had come to know of the hard work of the labourers (in constructing the memorial), she would have blessed and congratulated them,” he said addressing a gathering after unveiling the memorial.
“We can feel her absence. After her demise, this is my first major programme in Tamil Nadu. But wherever her soul may be, it will be blessing the state for a bright future. That is my belief… I pay my tribute to her,” he said. Modi and Jayalalithaa were known to have shared a good rapport from his days as chief minister of Gujarat. The two leaders had attended the each other’s swearing-in as chief minister of Tamil Nadu and Gujarat in 2011 and 2012.
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However, they faced off in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, with Jayalalithaa describing it as a contest between “Modi and lady”, referring to herself. Her AIADMK won 37 of the 39 seats in the state, leaving just one to BJP. At the function today, there was visible bonhomie between Modi and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami.