Sixty-year-old Mariam Pitchai had emerged as a giant killer in the assembly elections defeating Karunanidhi's close aide and transport minister KN Nehru but lost to fate early Monday morning.
He was crushed to death when the vehicle he was riding in crashed into a slower moving vehicle in front on the Tiruchirapalli- Chennai highway at Padallur near former telecom minister A Raja's fiefdom of Perambulur at 6 am.
Sports minister Sivapati, who was trailing in another vehicle saw the accident and informed the police. Pitchai was taken to the local hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.
An extremely popular man, Pitchai was the first time MLA, credicted with expanding party base in Tiruchirapalli and neighbouring districts by AIADK supremo J Jayalalithaa. Pitchai and Sivapati were driving down to Chennai from Tiruchirapalli, some 350 away, to participate in the oath taking ceremony of MLAs held today.
Jayalalithaa expressed shock over the tragic accident and left for Tiruchirapalli to meet the members of the bereaved family. Pitchai leaves behind wife and two sons and a daughter.
The newly constituted Tamil Nadu assembly observed two minutes silence as a mark of respect for the affable first time MLA. Pitchai was yet to even enter the ministerial room or see any files when fate snatched his life away.
Police have arrested the truck driver and are investigating.
According to eyewitnesses, the truck moving ahead of the Pitchai's vehicle sverved to the right as if to give way and suddenly sverved back as the fast moving Indica carrying the minister and his seven colleagues crashed right into the truck. The minister was sitting in the front, next to the driver, was grieviously hurt and crushed due to the impact of the crash. The body had to retrieved by the police after extracting the vehicle that got stuck below the truck.
Shopowners in Tiruchirapalli downed shutters in a mark of respect for the newly elected MLA from Trichirapalli city.