Jaya - the 'iron lady' takes over as CM for third time

Chennai, May 16: AIADMK chief Jayalalithaa, who steered her party-led front to a spectacular win inflicting a crushing defeat on DMK in the assembly polls, proved her mettle by roping in smaller parties and caste-based outfits to assume the reins of government for the third time.

Jayalalithaa was earlier Chief Minister during 1991-96 and 2001-06.

Affectionately called ''Amma'', the 63-year-old Chief Minister was very particular this time in not letting the anti-DMK votes get split and went out of her way to make room for allies.

AIADMK was not at best of terms with actor-politician Vijayakant, whose DMDK was widely seen as splitting the anti-DMK votes in the 2006 Assembly and 2009 Lok Sabha elections, but Jayalalithaa reached out to him and made him join her front to ensure DMK's ouster.

Jayalalithaa, a leading actress before joining politics, took the lead in stitching a formidable alliance with DMDK, Left parties and some other minor political parties and announcing party candidates when the DMK-led front was still grappling with seat-sharing talks with its ally Congress.

Known for taking hard and tough decisions either in government or in party affairs, Jayalalithaa is described as "iron lady" and "Margaret Thatcher of Tamil Nadu" by her followers.

Brought to public life by her mentor and AIADMK founder late M G Ramachandran to help her overcome the loss of her mother Sandhya, Jayalalithaa was first appointed a member of the nutritious noon meal scheme monitoring committee in 1982.

She was chosen Rajya Sabha member as the AIADMK's representative the same year after which she never looked back.

However, Jayalalithaa was removed as the AIADMK Propaganda Secretary by MGR in 1987, when he also sacked senior leader S D Somasundram from the party for anti-party activities.

Born to Sandhya and Jayaraman in Mysore, Jayalalithaa had her education at the Church Park Covent here and at the age of 15, she took to acting to support her family.

Making her film debut in well-known Director Sridhar's "Venniraadai", she acted in more than 300 films in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Hindi in a career spanning three decades.

She had paired with all top heroes including her mentor MGR and Sivaji Ganesan, but most of her films were with MGR.


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