A pall of gloom descended in Tiruchi following the death of the State Environment Minister, N. Mariyam Pichai in a road accident near Padalur about 30 km from here on Monday morning.

Mariyam Pichai gradually rose from the post of the secretary of the Goldenrock unit of the party a few decades ago to the rank of a State Minister. He came to the lime light when he was appointed secretary of the Tiruchi urban district unit of the party, during the previous All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) rule.

He was elected to the Corporation thrice and had also served as the Ariamangalam zonal chairman once. He resigned his membership from the Corporation Council to contest the recent Assembly election. His supporters claim that he had close rapport with the people and this could be gauged from the fact that he was elected thrice consecutively to the Corporation council.

“Mariyam Pichai always remained loyal to the party and to Amma. He successfully completed all the tasks assigned to him by the leader, keeping the cadre intact and motivating them to strengthen the party. Reposing confidence and faith in his hard work and loyalty, Amma rewarded him with a second chance to contest against DMK strongman K.N. Nehru in the AIADMK West constituency,” say Mr. Pichai's supporters in one voice.

“All the partymen rejoiced over Mr. Pichai's well earned victory over Mr. Nehru. Our joy knew no bounds, when Mr. Pichai was nominated as a Minister. He had a lot of plans for the city's development, but the tragedy has struck before he could settle down”, his supporters lament.

He had a close rapport with alliance parties. The cadre of the Desiya Murpokku Dravidar Kazhagam (DMDK) put up wall posters within a few hours, to condole his demise.

“He was a nice person to move with and always respected the members of other parties”, says M. Selvaraj, state committee member of the CPI. He had very close rapport with the people of his ward from where he was elected to the Corporation Council and this stood him in good stead in the Assembly elections. He discussed with likeminded people about the many good programmes he planned to implement in the constituency if he wins. “The voters of his constituency had a lot of faith in him and he was looking forward to living up to their expectations”, Mr. Selvaraj adds.

T. K. Rangarajan, MP and Central Committee member of the CPI (M) and S. Sridhar, district secretary of the CPI (M); M. Selvaraj, state committee member of the CPI, Jerome Arokyaraj, urban district secretary of the Congress, S. Sujatha, Mayor, leaders of the DMDK, MDMK, TMMK, Puthiya Tamilagam paid their respects to him.