“State has witnessed ‘J tsunami' now”
The triumphant return of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam in the Assembly elections has ended the seven-year-long lean phase that the party has undergone.
In the 2004 Lok Sabha elections, the party along with the Bharatiya Janata Party drew a blank. Though the AIADMK recovered some of its lost ground two years later, this was not enough for the party to retain power. Since 2006, the party had experienced one political setback after the other.
But, all these did not dampen the spirit of the AIADMK general secretary Jayalalithaa when she launched her party campaign in late March. From the beginning, she was categorical in saying that her party would score a resounding victory. Eventually, she was proved right. What the State has witnessed just now is ‘J tsunami,' says a senior leader of the party, indicating that Ms. Jayalalithaa, who is the driving force of the AIADMK, has singlehandedly shaped the party's victory in the Assembly polls.
M. Thambidurai, leader of the AIADMK parliamentary party, describes the outcome as a positive verdict. Though Ms. Jayalalithaa has been relentlessly pursuing the 2G spectrum allocation scam for the last few years and raised the issue of “family rule,” people are also aware of the quality of her leadership. He says the previous regimes of Ms. Jayalalithaa were known for effective handling of law and order, keeping the prices of essential commodities in control and comfortable power supply position.
For the 63-year-old general secretary of the AIADMK, this would be the third spell in government. Nearly 30 years ago, the AIADMK founder M.G. Ramachandran drafted her into the party and Ms. Jayalalithaa was made the propaganda secretary.
In 1984, she became Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha). After the death of M.G. Ramachandran in December 1987, the party suffered a split and she assumed the leadership of one of the groups. After the 1989 Assembly elections, the other faction, comprising seniors including R.M. Veerappan, merged itself with her group. In 1991, the AIADMK-Congress combine secured a massive mandate and Ms. Jayalalithaa became Chief Minister for the first time.
The rule was marked by a number of controversies and the AIADMK lost badly in the 1996 elections. Five years later, Ms. Jayalalithaa became Chief Minister for the second time.
Though she stepped down in September 2001 after the Supreme Court struck down her appointment on the grounds of her disqualification, Ms. Jayalalithaa again became Chief Minister in March 2002 once the Madras High Court had acquitted her in a couple of cases. The implementation of economic reforms and New Veeranam water supply project for Chennai had characterised her regime then.