J Jayalalithaa ennum naan…

Chennai: Come tomorrow, it’s three years since former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa passed away. But her legacy and influence still continue in Tamilnadu politics.

The ruling AIADMK led by Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami calls it as ”Amma’s government”. The principal opposition DMK during last election campaign said, ”the mystery continues regarding the death of former CM J Jayalalithaa. If the DMK comes to power, it will ensure a proper probe into the leader’s death”.

Even aspiring politicians like Rajinikanth have now and then said, Jayalalithaa was a dynamic leader. And, say lakhs of AIADMK cadre, ”Amma lives forever in our hearts”.

Remember Jayalalithaa was admitted to Chennai’s Apollo Hospital on 22 September, 2016. After 75 days of treatment, she was declared dead on 5 December, 2016.

What more? A couple of bio-pics and a web series are now being made on the life and achievement of Jayalalithaa which go on to show the popularity that she still enjoys among the people of Tamilnadu. What made her a tall leader?

Says political analyst Kannan, ”Not once but she became Chief Minister for five times. She even bucked the trend and emulated her mentor MGR in winning two consecutive Assembly elections – 2011 and 2016.”

”The various social welfare schemes that she implemented won her confidence of people. Worth mentioning are Amma water, baby kits, laptops and seeds. Her Amma canteens, where idlis are sold for Re one and sambar rice and curd rice for Rs 5, became a huge hit among poor”.

Somasundaram, a AIADMK sympathiser says, ”It is hard to find a bold and gutsy politician like her. She is quick to understand the situation and take decision much in advance. On many occasions, they ended up bringing her fortunes at ballot box. Also on several issues, her’s was the final word”.

”She ran the party with utmost discipline and there was no dissent. AIADMK grew from strength to strength under her able guidance”, he adds.

Damayanthi, a differently-abled woman, says, ”Jayalaithaa empowered women. Under her leadership, Tamilnadu became the State with the lowest infant mortality rate. It also has the second highest literacy rate for women – nearly 90 per cent of them are educated. No wonder why women voters brought the AIADMK to power in 2011 and 2016”.

She sums up saying, ”Whether corruption or no corruption, Jayalalithaa will remain an endearing Amma for all of us. Her legacy will stay the same forever”.

M BHARAT KUMAR