It was not an easy journey for J Jayalalithaa. What was a stepping stone for the then 43-year old chief minister has now become a cliche. But her oath-taking is significant in more that one way. She has become the first chief minister of Tamil Nadu in 30 years to have retained power and is just a year short of equalling her rival Karunanidhi's record of occupying the top seat.
She had a tumultous childhood, as she spoke in the program Randezvous with Simi Garewal, describing how she missed her mother and how she was brought up. Her life's journey is as complicated as her persona, but she has outshone every hurdle.
July 24, 1991: She entered as the heir to MGR, and then in alliance with the Congress, which was aided by a sympathy wave following Rajiv Gandhi's assassination. AIADMK won 225 out of 234 seats. It was after this swearing-in ceremony that her party members fell at her feet, a practice that they still continue.
May 14, 2001: Found guilty in the TANSI property scam, she was barred from contesting the elections. However,she continued with her campaign. The AIADMK ended up winning 132 seats. She reasoned that it was a mandate from the people for her to become the CM. The then governor Fathima Beevi invoked articke 164 , which allowed her to appoint a chief minister of her choice. She invited Jayalalithaa to become the CM.
March 2, 2002: In September 2001, the Supreme Court declared her swearing-in as inconstitutional and void. While stepping down, she announced Panneerselvam as her successor. By December, the Madras High Court acquitted her in the TANSI case, following which she resumed office after winning an election.
May 16, 2011: Despite exit polls predicting a hung assembly, AIADMK ended up winning an absolute majority on its own. This was the beginning of her populist schemes and she started aiming for the Centre, although it was later swept away by the Modi wave.
May 23, 2015: The Parliamentary elections had ended, but she found trouble at her doorsteps in the form of the asset disproportionate case. A makeshift court in Bengaluru sentenced her and three other associates to four years in prison, apart from a hefty fine. She was the first CM to be automatically disqualified as an MLA. Panneerselvam stepped in as acting CM till next year when Amma and her associates were left. She resumed office after winning the by-election from R K Nagar by 1.6 lakh votes.
Coming straight from Jayalalithaa, the story of her life: