Jayalalitha became the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu for the fifth time in 2015. The former popular Tamil film star has had a rollercoaster journey in Indian politics. Starting as a political disciple of the late MG Ramachandran, she rose to head the AIADMK (All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam) and finally became the Chief Minister of the state.
she brought her landmark Rainwater harvesting policy that is now a role model across India (Tamil Nadu praised for its good rainwater harvesting model).
The Amma Unavagams, where you get an idli for one rupee, are a big hit, while you can buy cheap medicines at Amma Pharmacies. Then there is Amma cement, Amma water and so on.
she was already wise and was bringing some of her iron-hand policies in dealing with errant government employees etc.
Tamil Nadu is a State where people tend to vote differently in Parliamentary and Assembly elections. Jayalalithaa didn't take the voters for granted or bask in the glory of 2011. She was the first to hit the campaign trail. That gave her a headstart.
she rode the luck of Indian liberalization that brought general wealth everywhere & as economy did well people were happy. She also brought schemes like the "Cradle baby scheme" to protect female infants and did well to tackle the fallout of LTTE.
She is also quite business friendly and has had quite a bit of successes in attracting investments to the state & reducing unemployment
Amma's speeches were powerful, no holds barred and tailored made for different constituencies. The strong case for a better deal for the State from the Centre and her strident stance on the State's rights (Of course, the victory in the Supreme Court over the Mullaiperiyar issue came after polling) went down well with the electorate. That enhanced her strong leadership profile.
She also gave 20 kilos of free rice to every family, four goats plus Rs 2,000 to help look after them. Calves were also given. School-going children get uniforms, books, stationery, slippers, laptops, cycle and even spectacles free.
In Tamil Nadu, thanks to Jayalalithaa, you don't have to worry about your child's education till Class 12. They also get free lunch at school.
Then there is marriage assistance for the poor and old age pensions. And Mediclaim cards you can use in private hospitals. Yes, they are called Amma cards.