Born 24 February 1948 (1948-02-24) (age 62)
Occupation Ex-Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Opposition Leader of Tamil Nadu
Jayalalithaa Jayaram(Tamil: జయలలిత ) or J. Jayalalitha (as commonly referred), (born 24 February 1948), is a former Chief Minister and current leader of the opposition of the Government of Tamil Nadu, India. She is the incumbent general secretary of All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), a Dravidian party in the state. She is popularly called Amma (mother) and Puratchi Thalaivi (Revolutionary Leader) by her followers. She was a popular film star in Tamil cinema and Telugu cinema before her entry into politics.
Prior to her venture into politics, she had a successful career in the Tamil film industry as an actress. She acted in the English language movie "Epistle" released in 1961 produced by Shankar Giri, son of former president of India Dr. V.V. Giri. Chinnada Gombe, her first film (in Kannada) was a major hit. Her first Telugu film Manushulu Mamathalu made her famous. In 1972, she was honoured by the Tamil Nadu government with the award Kalaimamani. She has acted opposite Dharmendra in the Hindi Movie named Izzat. Her last film was Nadhiyai Thedi Vandha Kadal in 1980. She has sung the following songs in her film career: 1. 'amma yendraal anbu' from adimaippeN (1969) Sung by J. Jayalalitha Lyrics by Vaali Music by K.V. Mahadevan 2. 'Oh meri dilrubaĂ˘â‚¬â„˘ from sooriyakaanthi (1973) Sung by TMS & J. Jayalalitha Lyrics by Vaali Music by M.S. Viswanathan 3. Ă˘â‚¬Ëœnaan endraal adhuĂ˘â‚¬â„˘ from sooriyakaanthi (1973) Sung by SPB & J. Jayalalitha Lyrics by Vaali & Randor Guy Music by M.S. Viswanathan 4. Ă˘â‚¬Ëœkangalil aayiramĂ˘â‚¬â„˘ from vandhaale maharaasi (1973) Sung by TMS & J. Jayalalitha Lyrics by Vaali Music by Shankar-Ganesh 5. Ă˘â‚¬Ëœiru maangani polĂ˘â‚¬â„˘ from vairam (1974) Sung by SPB & J. Jayalalitha Lyrics by Kannadasan Music by T.R. Papa
6. Ă˘â‚¬Ëœchithira mandabathilĂ˘â‚¬â„˘ from anbai thedi (1974) Sung by TMS & J. Jayalalitha Lyrics by Kannadasan Music by M.S. Viswanathan 7. Ă˘â‚¬Ëœthirumangalyam kolluam muraiĂ˘â‚¬â„˘ from thirumangalyam (1974) Sung by P.Suseela & J. Jayalalitha Lyrics by Kannadasan Music by M.S. Viswanathan 8. Ă˘â‚¬Ëœulagam oru naaL pirandhadhuĂ˘â‚¬â„˘ from thirumangalyam (1974) Sung by J. Jayalalitha Lyrics by Kannadasan Music by M.S. Viswanathan 9. Ă˘â‚¬Ëœmadrasu mailuĂ˘â‚¬â„˘ from unnai sutrum ulagam Sung by J. Jayalalitha & L.R. Eswari Lyrics by Vaali Music by Shankar-Ganesh 10. Ă˘â‚¬ËœmaaRi varum ulaginilEĂ˘â‚¬â„˘ Sung by J. Jayalalitha Music by Kunnakkudi VaidyanathanPolitics
In 1981, she joined the AIADMK and was nominated to the Rajya Sabha in 1988, marking her entry into the Parliament of India. Her association with politics grew from her affair with M. G. Ramachandran (popularly known as MGR), movie star and then Chief Minister., and her position as MGR's mistress helped her to become his political heir. However, the authenticity of these publications are disputable. The tabloid magazines constantly politicised what was possibly a good friendship between MGR and Jayalalitha. On MGR's death, she was alienated by a faction of the party who chose to support MGR's wife Janaki Ramachandran. Drawing on her massive popularity and her image as the "wronged woman", in 1989, she won the elections to the Tamil Nadu legislative assemblyĂ˘â‚¬â€�incidentally, becoming the first woman to be elected Leader of the Opposition. She accused that the then ruling party, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK, Dravidian People's Party), who allegedly tried to assault her in the assembly, and there, she reportedly took an oath to enter the assembly house only as chief minister. The assault she charged included DMK leader, Durai Murugan who according to her tried to pull her sari when she obstructed, then Chief Minister Karunanidhi of presenting the 1990 state budget. In 1991, following the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi, just days before the elections, her alliance with Indian National Congress paid off as a sympathy wave propelled the coalition to a massive victory. She was re-elected to the legislative assembly and became the first elected woman chief minister of Tamil Nadu, serving the full tenure (24 June 1991 - 12 May 1996) (Janaki Ramachandran technically became the first woman chief minister following her husband's death, but she was unelected and presided over a transitional 'caretaker' government). Due to an anti-incumbency wave, and several allegations of corruption and malfeasance against her and her ministers, she lost power to the DMK in 1996, in a landslide defeat. All the ministers in her erstwhile cabinet, including her, were defeated in the elections and six of them even lost their deposits, an indication that they did not even secure the minimum number of votes expected of them. She returned to power with a huge majority in the 2001 elections, having mustered a bigger coalition and defying many pre-poll predictions. In the last assembly elections held in 2006, her party had to relinquish power to the DMK government.
During the years out of power, she had to face a number of criminal lawsuits related to her first term rule, mostly dealing with embezzlement and monetary fraud. In 2001, a specially designated court convicted her of criminal breach of trust and of illegally acquiring governmental property belonging to TANSI, a state-run agency, and sentenced her to five years' imprisonment. She appealed against the sentence to the Supreme Court of India. While the appeal was under judicial consideration, the conviction disqualified her from contesting the 2001 elections. However, having led her party to victory, she controversially became the Chief Minister as a non-elected member of the assembly.
On 21 September 2001, a five-judge constitutional bench of the Supreme Court of India ruled that "a person who is convicted of a criminal offence and sentenced to imprisonment for a period of not less than two years cannot be appointed the Chief Minister of a State under Article 164 (1) read with (4) and cannot continue to function as such". Thereby, the bench decided that "in the appointment of Ms. Jayalalithaa as Chief Minister there has been a clear infringement of a Constitutional provision and that a writ of quo warranto must issue".
In effect, her appointment as Chief Minister was declared null and invalid. Therefore, technically, she was not the Chief Minister in the period between 14 May 2001 and 21 September 2001. O. Panneerselvam, a minister, was subsequently installed as the Chief Minister. However, his government was widely believed to have been puppeted and micro-managed by Jayalalithaa. In 2003, the Supreme Court acquitted her in the specific case, for lack of conclusive evidence to convict her. This cleared the way for her to contest a mid-term poll to the Andipatti constituency, after the elected representative for the seat, gave up his membership. Winning the election by a handsome margin, Jayalalithaa took over the Chief Ministership again. She is still a party to a few criminal litigations from her first term rule in the courts in the neighbouring Karnataka state.
After the 2006 assembly elections, O. Panneerselvam was elected the AIADMK legislature party leader and hence the Leader of the Opposition in the assembly, after she decided not to attend the assembly except if "absolutely necessary". However she, by virtue of her strong control over her party, was considered to be the de-facto leader of the opposition in the state. Later that month when all the attending AIADMK MLAs were suspended, she started attending the assembly. She was elected the legislature party leader and now (as of 2006) leads the opposition in the assembly.Member of Legislative Assembly
Year Elected/Reelected Place
1989 Elected Bodinayakkanur
1991 Elected Bargur
2002 Elected Andipatti
2006 Reelected AndipattiChief Minister
From Year To Year Election
1991 1996 1991 Tamil Nadu state assembly election
2002 2006 2001 Tamil Nadu state assembly electionMajor legislative achievements
* Governtment Officers Strike declared illegal.
* Banning of High interest private loans.
* Completion of New Veeranam Water Supply Scheme for Chennai.
* Banning lottery tickets to encourage savings.
* Elimination of the bandit Veerappan.
* Introduction of Video conferencing in Jails and Courts, thus eliminating the need to physically bring the accused to court to extend the parole or remand every time.
* All women police stations.
* Rain water Harvesting Scheme, relief to water shortage.
* 'Rural Women Self-Help Programme' benefitting lakhs of women in villages.
* Free cycles to all graduating school students.
* Thottil Kuzhandai Thittam initiated by J.Jayalalitha won her widespread accolades.Shortcomings and failures
* H Ration Cards - subsequently withdrawnCriticisms
 Allegations of oppressive style of governance
Her detractors consider her style of Governance oppressive. The following incidents are a few which are popularly held against her, to justify such claims.
1. In 2003, teachers of government-run educational institutions and employees of the state government declared an indefinite strike, demanding the repeal of an act that reduced their pension benefits. Jayalalithaa's government adopted a defiant stance [maintaining that the reduction was necessary to strengthen the fiscal position of the government]. A hurriedly enacted legislation enabled her to declare the strike illegal as it prevented the "maintenance of essential services" and terminate the services of the striking employees, numbering around 170,000. There were widespread allegations of hyperaction and witch-hunt, with the police being pressed into action to target striking individuals, sometimes to the extent of storming their residences and arresting them on flimsy grounds. The High Court and the Supreme Court of India, responding to appeals, ruled the government action legitimate but ordered the constitution of a three member Committee of High Court Judges to consider the appeals of the employees on an individual basis. The committee, deliberating over a period of six months, ordered the reinstatement of all but a little less than 4,000 employees, and recommended minor punishment to around 6,000 employees. Later, after her party suffered, Jayalalithaa reversed the decisions and reinstated all the dismissed employees and withdrew the penalties imposed, despite the Committee of JudgesĂ˘â‚¬â„˘ findings. This is widely believed to be in response to her defeat in the national elections in May 2004.
2. Allegations have been raised over the veracity of claims in various criminal proceedings filed during her Chief Ministership against her detractors, including her estranged foster son V. N. Sudhakaran, accusing them of possessing narcotics
3. In 1992, Chandralekha, an Indian Administrative Service officer and the chairperson of state owned Industrial Development Corporation was brutally assaulted on the roads of Chennai, and acid thrown at her face. It has been alleged that this was due to her refusal to toe Jayalalithaa's line in the affair of disinvestment in SPIC, a joint sector company. An arrested suspect in this case, Surla, alleged that he did it under instructions from Jayalalithaa and her close aide Sasikala Natarajan.
4. On 30 May 1995, R. Shanmugha Sundaram, an advocate belonging to DMK, was grievously injured in an attack Allegations have been levelled against Jayalalithaa .
5. She has constantly been at the heart of controversy over the numerous defamation suits filed against opposition leaders and members of the press, using privileges available to her in the official capacity and by using government funds. She has been accused of being highly intolerant to negative criticism.
6. The action against the Acharya of the Kanchi Kamakoti Mutt HH Shri Jayendra Saraswathi Swamigal during her Chief-ministership, has been hailed in some quarters and condemned in some quarters.
7. Action initiated against the then opposition leader and the current Chief Minister, M. Karunanidhi and union ministers Murasoli Maran and T.R.Baalu all belonging to DMK, in 2004 for the Flyover scam case. and this led to widespread criticism of the action.
8. Orders were given to arrest the editors of The Hindu, a leading newspaper based in Chennai, for publishing an editorial entitled 'Rising Intolerance' that criticized her as "crude use of state power". The editor of "Murasoli" - which reprinted the piece - was also arrested and sentenced to 15 days in prison.Trivia
* Many people and the media feel that Jayalalitha believes in numerology and astrology; they point to her name change from "Jayalalitha" to "Jayalalithaa" as being directly borne out of such a belief. Press reports too have mentioned her faith in astrology and numerology, stating that she consults astrologers before taking important political decisions.Partial filmography
Vennira Aadai Srikanth
Aayirathil Oruvan M.G. Ramachandran
Kavalkaran M.G. Ramachandran, Prem Nazir
Adimai pen M.G. Ramachandran, Prem Nazir
Olivilakku M.G. Ramachandran, Prem Nazir
Kanni thai M.G. Ramachandran, Prem Nazir
Mugarasi M. G. Ramachandran
Thanipiravi M.G. Ramachandran
Annamittakai M.G. Ramachandran
Neerum Neruppum M.G. Ramachandran
Engal Thangam M.G. Ramachandran
Thalaivan M.G. Ramachandran
Mattukkaravelan M.G. Ramachandran
Kadhal Vaganam M.G. Ramachandran
Kanavan M.G. Ramachandran
Kudiyiruntha koil M.G. Ramachandran
Ther Thiruvizha M.G. Ramachandran
Ragasiya Police 115 M.G. Ramachandran
Chandrothayam M.G. Ramachandran
Pudhiya Boomi M.G. Ramachandran
Arasakattalai M.G. Ramachandran, B. Sarojadevi
Raman Thediya Seethai M.G. Ramachandran
Kannan en Kaadalan M.G. Ramachandran
Chandrodayam M.G. Ramachandran
Thedi vandha maapillai M.G. Ramachandran
En Annan M.G. Ramachandran
Kumari kottam M.G. Ramachandran
Pattikattu ponniah M.G. Ramachandran
Nam Naadu M.G. Ramachandran
Pattikada Pattanama Sivaji Ganesan
Galatta Kalyanam Sivaji Ganesan
Sumathi en Sundari Sivaji Ganesan
Engirundho vandhal Sivaji Ganesan
Neethi Sivaji Ganesan
Savale samali Sivaji Ganesan
Raja Sivaji Ganesan
Deiva Magan Sivaji Ganesan
Motor Sundarampillai Sivaji Ganesan
Pattum Bharathamum Sivaji Ganesan
Kandan Karunai Sivaji Ganesan, Sivakumar
Enga Maama Sivaji Ganesan
Thaai Sivaji Ganesan
Gurudakshanai Sivaji Ganesan, Padmini
Annai Velankanni Gemini Ganesan
Sri Krishna Leela Sivakumar, Sri Vidya
Sakthi Leelai Gemini Ganesan, K. R. Vijaya
Iru Deivangal Gemini Ganesan
Athiparasakthi Gemini Ganesan
Yar nee Jaishankar
Kumari penn Ravichandran
Bhagdad Perazhagi Ravichandran
Nadhiyai thedi vandha kadal SarathbabuAwards and degrees
In 1972, she was given with the honorable title of Kalaimamani.In 1991, the University of Madras honoured her by conferring the degree of Doctor of Literature. In 1992, the Tamil Nadu Dr. MGR Medical University conferred the degree of Doctor of Science on her. In 1993, the Madurai Kamaraj University conferred the degree of Doctor of Letters on her. In 2003, the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University conferred the degree of Doctor of Science on her and the Bharathidasan University conferred the degree of Doctor of Letters on her. She received the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws conferred on her by The Tamil Nadu Dr. Ambedkar Law University, Chennai in 2005.