The untimely demise of J Jayalalithaa, one of India's most reticent yet powerful politicians, has created a huge void in Tamil Nadu’s political landscape. After the death of MG Ramachandran in 1987, who had founded the AIADMK, Jayalalithaa had resurrected the party through her sheer grit and political acumen. She earned the love of masses through her pro-poor schemes that stretched from doling out free mixer-grinders, television sets to cheap meals, earning her the sobriquet of Amma (mother). Despite being embroiled in corruption cases, she managed to thwart arch rival DMK on several occasions to bring her party to power – winning the assembly elections five times. Though trusted confidante O Panneerselvam has taken over the mantle, the loss of a charismatic leader raises question over the future of a party that was always ruled with an iron hand.
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