Jayaram Jayalalitha was born on 24 February 1948, was an Indian politician and film actor who served five times as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu for over fourteen years from 1991 to 2016. Jaya was also the General Secretary of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) party. Jaya was sworn-in as the chief minister for a record sixth term on 23 May 2016. Jayalalithaa died in office on December 5, 2016, at the age of 68 years after suffering from a major cardiac arrest.
Early life and family
Jayalalithaa was born in Mysore (now in the state of Karnataka) at a place called Melukote on 24 February 1948. She comes from a Tamil Iyengar family. Her father Jayaram, a lawyer by profession, passed away when she was just two years old. As a result, Jayalalitha and her brother Jayakumar had to shift to Bangalore along with their mother. Jayalalitha accomplished her schooling from Bishop Cotton Girls’ High School, Chennai, and Sacred Heart Matriculation School, also commonly known as Presentation Church Park Convent, in Chennai. She was a very brilliant student and received a scholarship for higher studies from the Government of India after completing her matriculation in 1964. However, she took up films shortly after that. Her career saw her working in films of different languages, covering English, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil, and Telugu.
In 1982, Jayalalitha became a member of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, a party founded by M.G. Ramachandran. It marked her entry into politics. She gave her first public address, Pennin Perumai (the Pride of Women), at the conference of the party that year. She was made the Propaganda Secretary of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam in January 1983. As chosen by Puratchi Thalaivar M.G.R., Jayalalitha organized her first election campaign in February 1983 for the party as a candidate in the by-election from the Tiruchendur Assembly Constituency. Jayalalitha was elected for the first time as a member of the Rajya Sabha in 1984 and she remained at her seat till 1989. In 1984, M.G.R. fell ill and moved to the U.S.A to undergo medical treatment. In his absence, Jayalalitha came to the forefront during the elections to the Lok Sabha and the Legislative Assembly in Tamil Nadu in December 1984. The same year, the alliance of Congress (I) and AIADMK secured a massive victory.
- Puratchi Thalaivar M.G.R. expired in 1987, after which the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam was split into two parties. The election symbol of the party, “Two Leaves”, was frozen by the Election Commission of India.
- Jayalalitha was chosen as a member of Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly in 1989 from the Bodinayakkanur constituency.
- She was the first lady to become the Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly of Tamil Nadu.
- The two factions of the party reunited in February 1989 under the leadership of her, who was unanimously elected as the General Secretary of the united AIADMK.
- The election symbol of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam party, ‘Two Leaves’, was restored by her in 1989.
- She directed the Congress (I) and AIADMK alliance to a historic victory in the 1989 General Elections to the Lok Sabha in Puducherry and Tamil Nadu.
- Under Jaya leadership, the AIADMK secured victories in all the subsequent by-elections from the constituencies of Peranamallur, Madurai East and Marungapuri to the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly.
- A great won was secured by Jayalalitha in the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly elections held in 1991 when the party and its alliance won 225 out of the total 234 seats.
- On 24 June 1991, Jaya became the youngest ever and the second female Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. She held the position till 12 May 1996.
- She swept the 1991 General Elections by securing a total victory for the AIADMK and its alliance partner INC in the 40 Lok Sabha constituencies of Puducherry and Tamil Nadu, thus creating history. The 1998 general election of the Lok Sabha saw the AIADMK and its alliance securing 30 out of 40 seats.
- The 2001 Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly elections saw Jaya leading the alliance to a win of 195 seats out of the 234 and her party, the AIADMK, alone secured 132 seats. On 14 May 2001, She became the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu for the second time and held the post till 21 September 2001.
- In February 2002, she was elected from the constituency of Andipatti. Jaya remained the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu from 2 March 2002 to 12 May 2006. The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam alliance won 69 seats in the 2006 Legislative Assembly elections and Jayalalitha served as the Leader of Opposition.
- On 11 May 2015, the Karnataka High Court acquitted Jayalalitha in the Disproportionate Assets case. J. Jayalalitha was sworn-in as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu for a record-equalling fifth time on 23 May 2015. On 25 April 2016, she filed her nomination papers in R. K. Nagar ahead of the Tamil Nadu Assembly elections.
- Jaya created a history of sorts by becoming the first chief minister since 1989 to return to power for a second consecutive term. She took oath as the chief minister of Tamil Nadu for a record sixth time on 23 May 2016.