Tamil Nadu Governor K Rosaiah, Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, DMK president M Karunanidhi and other leaders today paid rich tributes to industrialist, 'Pollachi' N Mahalingam who died here following cardiac arrest.
Chairman of the over Rs 5,000-crore Sakthi Group of Companies and Anamallais Bus Transport Ltd (ABT Services), 91-year-old Mahalingam collapsed when he was taking part in a lecture here on Thursday. He was declared brought dead at a hospital later.
Governor Rosaiah expressed shock and grief over the death of the three-time MLA.
"He was known for his simplicity, humaneness and was a pious person who had contributed a lot for the promotion of moral and spiritual values. His death is an irreparable loss to Tamil Nadu," he said in a statement.
Panneerselvam said as the founder of Sakthi Group of Companies, Mahalingam had provided employment to a number of persons while being a guide to many entrepreneurs.
He was also running a spiritual magazine called 'Om Sakthi', the Chief Minister said in an official statement.
Mahalingam had represented the state assembly three times and followed Gandhian principles in his life, besides showing love and compassion to the economically poor, he said.
The Padma Bhusan recipient was honoured by former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, who had special affection for him, and had felicitated him during the diamond jubilee celebrations of Tamil Nadu assembly as he was one of the members of the first legislative assembly.
"I express my sympathies with the family of Mahalingam..', he said.
Karunanidhi recalled that Mahalingam lived by the ideals of non-violence and honesty, the principles followed by Gandhiji. He expressed shock over the death and said he had deputed his son and party Treasurer M K Stalin to pay homage.
He recalled his years of association with the Gandhian leader, describing him as an affable man and expressed his condolences to the bereaved family.
TNCC chief B S Gnanadesikan said Mahalingam had worked closely with Congress veterans, late K Kamaraj and C Subramaniam and added his death was an "irreparable loss".
Senior BJP leader L Ganesan and party's national executive member said Mahalingam had left his impression in many spheres of life, including politics and science.
Former Union Minister P Chidambaram and MDMK founder Vaiko paid homage to Mahalingam.