J Jayalalithaa is surely a happy lady now. After all, it was the first time since 1984 that Tamil Nadu chose a particular party for two consecutive terms!
Amma’s All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) created history on May 19 by winning 134 of the 232 assembly seats.
Amid celebrations at her Poes Garden residence in Chennai, Jayalalithaa, who is set to become the chief minister of Tamil Nadu for the second consecutive term, addressed elated supporters and said: “We are indebted to the people of Tamil Nadu for creating history and giving us a landslide win. My only interest in life is to work for our people till my last breath.”
Maintaining her calm and composed self, Jaya said: “I have to words to express my gratitude. So, I intend to let my actions show my gratitude for all of you.”
Here are 10 things you need to know about the 68-year-old AIADMK supremo, who is also known as ‘Puratchi Thalaivi’ (Revolutionary Leader):
1. Jayalalithaa was a fan of American actor Rock Hudson and even collected his photos. Besides, she had a crush on veteran cricketers Nari Contractor and Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi.
“I used to go for matches with binoculars just to look at Pataudi and Pataudi alone,” she once told Outlook magazine in an interview.
2. On Feb 18, 1992, during the Mahamaham festival, as the Tamil Nadu CM, she took a holy dip in public in the Mahamaham tank located in Kumbakonam town. A stampede broke out to have a glimpse of her, killing around 50 people.
3. Jayalalithaa takes only Re. 1 as her salary for the chief minister’s job. As per a report by The Hindu newspaper, when she was first offered a cheque, she said she has “abundant sources of income” and don’t need a salary.
But when she was said that it is mandatory for a public servant to take salary, she took Re. 1 and the tradition continues till date.
4. She topped the Matriculate exam in the state and wanted to be a lawyer. But her actress mother Sandhya forced the 16-year-old change her route from Stella Maris College to the sets of director C.V. Sridhar.
5. Her first film Vennira Aadai (Widow’s Robe) got an ‘A’ certificate from the Censor Board and she being a minor, could not watch her debut movie in the theatres.
6. Jaya is a trained Bharatnatyam dancer and was introduced into the art at the age of 3.
7. She is an avid reader of English books. Even today, whenever she travels, she carries some books with her.
8. Amma has her name in The Guinness Book of World Records for hosting the “largest wedding banquet/reception”.
In 1995, for her now-disowned foster son V N Sudhakaran’s wedding, she allegedly spent around Rs 10 crore. Over 1,50,000 guests attended the wedding organized at a 50-acre ground in Chennai.
9. It was on Mar 25, 1989, when Jayalalithaa alleged that the-then Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) minister Durai Murugan and his colleague Veerapandi Arumugham pulled her saree inside the Tamil Nadu Assembly.
She vowed she will enter the House again only as the state CM. And she kept her promise as she got her first term as the CM in 1991.
10. On Sept 27, 2014, Jayalalithaa was sentenced to four years of imprisonment and was ordered to pay a fine of Rs 100 crore by a Bangalore court in a disproportionate assets case. But she was acquitted on My 11, 2015.
Sreya is based in Kolkata. She is a Senior Editor of Big Wire.