Career Celebrities Politics

May 11, 2015 at 9:52 am

From an actress to a key politician – twists and turns of Jayalalithaa’s career

From her days in south Indian cinema to entering politics under the guidance of MGR and then to become a major player in the current political scene, former Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa’s career has seen many twists and turns. But her first big test was in her first term as chief minister from 1991 to 1996.

Sumanth C Raman, a political analyst, said, “In the first term there was that display of ostentation which we saw during the wedding and so on. All of that the public didn’t take kindly to.”

Corruption cases, however, haunted her political career. Jayalalithaa, who managed to steer her party AIADMK to victory in 2001, quit as chief minister in six months after her conviction in a graft case.

In 2002, she was acquitted and returned to the helm. She once again won elections with a huge margin in 2011.

Many who have observed Jayalalithaa over the years say she has mellowed down and re-branded herself as a giver with populist schemes.

Another political analyst Gnani said, “Earlier she was seen as an iron lady- autocratic, dictatorial but in the recent years she is trying to project a benevolent ‘amma’, a mother kind of image.”

Schemes like Amma canteen, Amma water and even Amma theatres made her popular among people. Yet, her third term too was cut short in September 2014 after she was convicted in an 18-year-old disproportionate assets case. Like the last time, she chose her close confidant O Paneerselvam as regent to rule in her place.

If the High court upholds her conviction, it means 67-year-old Jayalalithaa cannot contest an election for the next 10 years. While she continues to wield power from behind the throne, even she would find it difficult to do so for a full decade.

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