Jayalalitha: Setting Milestones In Tamil Nadu’s History
Tamil Nadu got Jayalalitha when she had just turned 16. She entered the cine field instead of college because of her family’s financial instability, going on to become one the best-known actresses in the Tamil film industry. She has also acted in a few Bollywood movies. She is also said to be the first Tamil actress to wear a skirt on screen. Sharing screen space with M.G. Ramachandran in over 25 movies, she stayed with him even when he entered politics. Her journey from being M.G.R’s Ammu to the state’s Amma is an interesting one.
As she lies in Apollo hospital in Chennai, media is abuzz with updates on her health. While we all pray for her speedy recovery, SheThePeople brings you a list of 6 political milestones she has achieved.
– After MGR’s death, the state’s law and law went for a toss. But his death brought Jayalalitha some luck and a great following. Soon afterwards, she won the elections to the Tamil Nadu legislative assembly in 1989 and became the first woman leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly of Tamil Nadu.
– The fateful incident of Jayalalitha’s saree being pulled and torn in the assembly brought her some publicity and bred negative sentiments against DMK. She rode the wave and won the election in 1991. She became the first female chief minister of Tamil Nadu to serve a full term. Jayalalitha was also the youngest.
– A believer in women’s empowerment, Jayalalitha, in her very first term brought in changes to the system. She was the first to introduce over 50 police stations run solely by women. She also introduced a 30% quota for women in police jobs. This trend was extended to public places like a library as well.
– India’s first company of female police commandos was set up in Tamil Nadu in 2003. They underwent the same training as their male counterparts, covering the handling of weapons, detection and disposal of bombs, driving, horse riding, and adventure sports.
– The state of Tamil Nadu has not had a history of voting anyone back to power for two successive terms after 1984. But this year in May, in spite of high anti-incumbency due to the various controversies Jayalalitha was a part of, the people of Tamil Nadu voted Jayalalitha back to power.
– Freebies have always done the work for Jayalalitha. She understood what people in Tamil Nadu wanted — power and freebies. She distributed four goats and a cow to each BPL family, mixer-grinders and fans, free uniforms, school bags, notebooks, geometry boxes, etc for children in government schools. Bicycles and laptops were distributed to Class 11 and 12 students. Under her ongoing wedding assistance plan for the poor, 8 grams of gold and Rs 50,000 is provided as marriage assistance. In addition, Jayalalitha also distributed 20kg free rice every month, sanitary napkins and Amma baby care kits, among many other things. Also, to ensure fulfilment of manifesto claims, Jayalalitha set up a Special Programme Implementation Department for the first time.