The “AMMA” of Tamil Nadu…. A Tale of Up’s and Down’s!

She is no stranger to controversies and struggles. Be it early in her life or in the early stages of her political career J. Jayalalitha, popularly known as Amma, has come up the hard way. Being a self-made person, she is known to be a tough taskmaster and has never shied away from taking control. Though most would be afraid to take a plunge in a male dominated world of politics Jayalalitha fought opposition from her own party members to take over after the death of her mentor M.G. Ramachandran.


Having lost her father at the age of one, Jayalalitha was brought up by her mother who worked as a clerk. Although her forefathers were wealthy, her father squandered all the wealth leaving her mother to struggle and fend for themselves. Despite the situation she went on become a state topper in matriculation. She had to discontinue her studies and enter the film world. She slowly made a mark for herself and rose to stardom eventually. She co-starred with M. G. Ramachandran (MGR) in numerous films and joined him in his political ventures as well.

Swimming against the tide

She has had to face opposition right from the time she was selected as a successor by MGR. A faction of her party members was opposed to her becoming the party chief after MGR’s death. She not only overcame the opposition but also went on to become the supremo of AIADMK. No term of her chief ministership has been controversy free. The lavish manner in which she conducted her friend Sasikala’s son’s marriage, how she got Karunanidhi arrested in the middle of the night, her getting the Kanchi Seer implicated and arrested in a murder case and her disproportionate assets case are a few among the several controversies she has been embroiled in. None of this has fazed her in the least.

Health concerns and successor

Over the years a lot has been said about her deteriorating health condition. It was even alleged that she was being administered slow poison and it was the then chief minister of Gujarat Shri. Narendra Modi who came to her rescue. The truth, however, remains a mystery. Even at present not much is known about her current health condition. All that is known is that she is being treated for some ailment at a renowned Chennai hospital.

The biggest concern for AIADMK should be the question of her successor. Jayalalitha doesn’t seem to have nurtured anyone for the role. Paneerselvam, who was the acting chief minister in her absence, was ineffective to say the least. Fanaticism, among the party members to please her, is so high that no one dares to oppose her. In fact it is a common sight to see even ministers falling at her feet. Though according respect is important, going overboard is not.

Numerous rumours have been doing the rounds ever since she has been admitted to the hospital and until a clear picture emerges these can be disregarded safely. The future of AIADMK and that of its supremo remains an enigma as of today.

Latha Iyer