Jayalaithaa: The political phoenix
Chennai, May 23: Known for her resilience and determination to fight personal and political adversities, AIADMK chief J Jayalithaa has fought and won many legal tangles in her chequered political career and returned at the helm again.
Caught in the disproportionate assets case that had threatened to jeopardise her political career, the 'Comeback Queen' has returned at a time when her party is readying for next year's Assembly polls and put a spanner in the opposition's strategy.
The acquittal of Jayalalithaa, who was at the helm during 1991-96, 2001-2006 and May 2011-September 2014, in the Rs 66.66 crore disproportionate assets case by the Karnataka High Court on May 11 had set the ball rolling for her return to the seat of power at Fort St.George. Jayalalithaa has overcome legal tangles in the past also.
In the 2001, the TANSI land case had derailed her continuation as Chief Minister. In September last, the AIADMK chief's conviction in the assets case had led to her automatic disqualification due to a Central legislation which she had vowed to face it legally.
Her return to office now comes less than a fortnight after she was acquitted in the disproportionate assets case. From a 'hesitant' teen starlet who made her cinema debut in CV Sridhar-directed 'Vennira Aadai,' in 1956, Jayalalithaa rose in ranks as a popular heroine, pairing opposite among others, then matinee idol MG Ramachandran (MGR).
Having done nearly 30 films together, their on screen bonding stretched to politics also, with Jayalalithaa becoming the former Chief Minister's protege after he founded AIADMK. Starting off as the party's Propaganda Secretary, she impressed Ramachandran, especially with her English language skills, and soon earned a ticket to Rajya Sabha, and with that, a stronger foothold in politics.
Jayalalithaa had split the party after being humiliated during Ramachandran's funeral procession. But she later united the different factions following an ugly incident involving her party's arch rival DMK in the state Assembly, when she was allegedly insulted on the floor of the House. She was Opposition Leader then.