Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa made "noteworthy efforts" to empower "our nari shakti" or woman power, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said today remembering the late leader on her 73rd birth anniversary. In a tweet posted today, he also said she was admired for her pro-people policies.
The Prime Minister's message comes at a time when the state is gearing up for its next assembly polls with his party, the BJP, in alliance with her AIADMK, the incumbent.
Remembering Jayalalithaa Ji on her birth anniversary. She is widely admired for her pro-people policies and efforts to empower the downtrodden. She also made noteworthy efforts to empower our Nari Shakti. I will always cherish my several interactions with her. pic.twitter.com/nyV3xz1Lb8— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) February 24, 2021
One of the two key pillars of Tamil Nadu politics till her death in December 2016, only a little over a year into her fifth term as Chief Minister, Ms Jayalalithaa was also known as "Amma" (mother) and "Puratchi Thalaivi" (Revolutionary leader). She was serving a consecutive term when she took ill and, subsequently, passed away.
Despite major differences within the AIADMK following her death, the party came around to present an image of unity and has successfully ruled the state under Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswamy. With the state polls now expected in April, the opposition DMK is keen on displacing her party.
Her former close aide, VK Sasikala, who was convicted in a disproportionate assets case along with the late leader, has returned to the state's politics after serving time and may be viewed as an X factor in the upcoming polls.
The BJP, which still only has a marginal presence in the state, is looking to make a splash this time. Whether or not attempts to ride on Ms Jayalalithaa's popularity works for it as it does for the AIADMK is still moot.