A year after Jayalalithaa's passing, 'Amma' still looms over Tamil Nadu's political future

Last Updated: Tue, Dec 05, 2017 11:55 hrs
Jayalalithaa

Chennai: On this day last year J Jayalalithaa died. The six-term chief minister had singularly dominated Tamil Nadu's political landscape. In the void that she left behind, Tamil Nadu witnessed many things that make her presence felt even in death. To understand the post-Amma state, we look at some of the events that shaped Tamil Nadu in the last one year.

Jayalalithaa, known to her adoring cadres and supporters as 'Amma' or 'mother,' breathed her last at Chennai's Apollo hospital on December 5, 2016.

In pictures: Jayalalithaa's final journey

In February earlier this year, one of AIADMK's founder members and former Speaker of the TN Assembly PH Pandian, a known Sasikala baiter for long, dropped a bombshell allegation that former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa was pushed by someone during a clash at her Poes Garden residence on September 22, 2016 and this may have caused her death.

In those 12 intervening months, much has changed for her state and party.

Read: The loneliness of Jayalalithaa

To begin with, Jayalalithaa's RK Nagar Assembly seat remains vacant. A bypoll orginally scheduled for April - and then cancelled after raids unearthed proof of corruption - will now be held on December 21.

In February, Jayalalithaa's friend and aide VK Sasikala was on the cusp of achieving the glory of succeeding her as chief minister. But 'Chinnamma' now lives in a Bengaluru jail, having been convicted in a disproportionate assets case in which Jayalalithaa herself was named.

As for the AIADMK, the party hasn't been completely united since O Panneerselvam rebelled against Sasikala just before her imprisonment (that happened after a dramatic late-night meditation session at the memorial dedicated to Jayalalithaa).

While the leaders who followed Panneerselvam have now re-united with the larger Edappadi Palaniswami-led faction, some party members are loyal to Sasikala and her nephew TTV Dhinakaran, both of whom have been sidelined.

The AIADMK's symbol, the 'twin leaves', which Jayalalithaa invoked so often by displaying her index and middle finger, became the object of dispute before the first RK Nagar bypoll. Only recently did the Election Commission decide to grant the united AIADMK - the merged Panneerselvam and Palaniswami factions (sans Dhinakaran and co) - the right to use it.

Much has changed in the year that has passed since Jayalalithaa's demise, but one thing remains the same. Even in death, 'Amma' continues to be the AIADMK's undisputed leader.

Read: Jayalalithaa's journey as most prolific Tamil actress

Other than being a powerful politician and a five-time chief minister, Jayalalithaa Jayaraman, also known as Puratchi Thalaivi, was once also a prolific and versatile actress in Tamil cinema, between 1961-1980.

Born on February 24, 1948 in Mandya district in then Mysore State (now Karnataka) in a Tamil Iyengar Brahmin family, Amma stepped into showbiz in 1961 with an English film Epistle.

In her two-decade long acting career, Jayalalithaa appeared in a whopping 140 films in different languages.

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