Amma – Jayalalithaa’s Rise from Movie Star to Political Queen: An excerpt

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Actor, politician, arch minister, Amma — for someone who has played as many roles off-screen and on it as J Jayalalithaa has, it’s startling that there isn’t an certified journal of Tamil Nadu’s Iron Lady, who upheld divided late on Monday night. The following is an mention from Vaasanthi’s book Amma: Jayalalithaa’s Rise from Movie Star to Political Queen:

While Jayalalithaa savoured her large feat in a 2011 elections, she contingency also have relished a dim days that a Karunanidhi house went by after they were routed in a elections. Karunanidhi’s protégé A Raja, kinship apportion in a Congress-led government, and daughter, Kanimozhi, Rajya Sabha MP, were charged in a 2G scam, arrested and sent to jail, on charges of purported rascal and corruption. According to her, a DMK had mislaid belligerent irretrievably, and no longer acted a plea to a AIADMK. As she announced to her celebration group after winning a 2011 Assembly elections, ‘Don’t worry about a DMK. As distant as that celebration is concerned, it is a finished story.’

Her prior stints in energy had taught her that guileless actions of annoy and reprisal would usually mistreat her. As a result, her third tenure as arch apportion was comparatively tranquil, even yet she remained revengeful in many respects. Within a administration, she brooked no opposition, perfectionist that her word on any theme be deliberate law.

She manoeuvred open support with her array of populist gratification schemes, interjection to that ‘the male in a travel gets all he needs’ in a name of ‘Amma’.


Cover of ‘Amma: Jayalalithaa’s Rise from Movie Star to Political Queen’. Courtesy Juggernaut Books

She projected herself as a mom figure in all her gratification schemes and choosing speeches. She off set any open displeasure with her largesse: 20 kilos of rice giveaway for any BPL family, mixie-grinders and fans – nevermind a still-existing energy shortages – and bicycles for schoolchildren, all distributed as Amma products. Amma canteens run by metropolitan companies sprang adult in cities, offered idlis for one rupee any and spread rice for 3 rupees. The Tamils trust in a aged proverb ‘Be beholden as prolonged as we live to a chairman who fed you’.


Amma doesn’t utterly comprehend how Tamil Nadu has altered given she initial entered politics. There is a outrageous amicable churning going on among a youth, now unprotected to a Internet and WhatsApp. New voices are rising opposite a prolonged order of a dual Dravidian parties, a DMK and a AIADMK. The gratification measures have been a large strike with a reduce center category though a immature now have opposite aspirations. When a rains poured like never before in Chennai and other tools of a state and a city was flooded by a behind opening of a Chembarambakkam lake, a supervision stood paralysed for 3 days. The people were indignant that Jayalalithaa did not rush to their assistance. The annoy was still there as a May 2016 Assembly elections approached, and her opponents believed it would be refl ected in a results.


As a campaigning collected steam, she remained presumably unruffled and confident. Unlike a DMK that was unfortunate for allies she audaciously announced that her celebration would competition all 234 seats. All efforts by Karunanidhi to form a joined front failed, and it resulted in a five-cornered contest: a AIADMK, a DMK+Congress, a BJP, a PMK and Vijaykanth’s front that had 4 groups of a People’s Welfare Front. Election analysts were assured that a anti-incumbency votes would be separate and that would be to Jayalalithaa’s advantage. But was her opinion bank intact? Was her reason on a celebration still as firm? Would her gratification schemes move her behind to energy once again?

It would be a tough fight. Karunanidhi’s son and selected heir, Stalin, had been travelling all over Tamil Nadu over a past year. With his finish makeover in dress and debate as a energetic male with a complicated outlook, vocalization a denunciation that a male on a travel understands and appreciates, Stalin looked like a mass personality already, a fi tting inheritor to his father, a ninety-three-year-old Karunanidhi.


At her choosing rallies, her china Toyota Prado drifting a red and black streamer of a AIADMK would arrive to howling applause. She would travel solemnly to a canopied dais, her special cushioned chair surrounded by atmosphere coolers. Th is time, she did not broach her common rousing oration. Instead, she would review out a prepared debate before a lakhs of people who had been sitting in a prohibited object from morning to see her. She would review out a list of her achievements, and also her complaints opposite her foe, Karunanidhi. Th is time, a fi re and passion was missing. But a crowds did not seem to mind. Indeed, a steer of her, looking sleepy and aged as she trafficked from one convene to another, seemed to awaken their protecting instincts.

‘Would they opinion for again?’ reporters went around seeking people during her rallies. Few were prepared to give a transparent answer. But many pronounced that either or not they would opinion for her, they would always come to hear her. In energy or out of power, she will always be their Amma.

Excerpted with accede of Juggernaut Books from Amma: Jayalalithaa’s Rise from Movie Star to Political Queen by Vaasanthi. Available in bookstores and

First Published On : Dec 6, 2016 10:34 IST