Chennai: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on Wednesday said she would not attend the last rites of former President A P J Abdul Kalam in Rameswaram owing to her health condition and has deputed seven cabinet colleagues to represent her and the state government at the funeral.
"I have great love and respect for Mr A P J Abdul Kalam. It is my desire to attend his funeral and pay respects to him. However, due to my health condition I am unable to undertake a journey," she said in a statement.
The Chief Minister deputed the top four Ministers of her cabinet-- O Panneerselvam, Natham R Viswanathan (Electricity), R Vaithilingam (Housing) and Edappady K Palaniswamy (Highways) to pay respects to the former President on Thursday on her behalf and the Tamil Nadu government.
Ministers for Higher Education, Youth Welfare and Sports and Revenue, P Palaniappan, S Sundararaj and R B Uthayakumar, respectively, will also pay respects, she added.
"I have also directed that a public holiday be declared on Thursday as a mark of respect to Kalam," she added.