AIADMK Party History – The Footprints of AIADMK Party

Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam
All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) (lit. All India Anna Dravidian Progress Federation) is a state political party in the states of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, India. It is currently in power in Tamil Nadu and is the third largest party in the Lok Sabha. It is a Dravidian party and was founded by M.G. Ramachandran (popularly known as MGR) on the 17th of October, 1972 as a breakaway faction of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK). Since 1989, AIADMK has been led by J. Jayalalithaa, the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.The ADMK party headquarters is located in Royapettah, Chennai, and was donated to the party in 1986 by its former leader Janaki Ramachandran, MGR’s wife. Coalitions headed by the ADMK party have won the elections to the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly six times, making it the most successful political outfit in the state’s history.

MGR era (1972–1987)

MG RamachandranThe party was founded in 1972 as Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (ADMK) by MGR, a veteran Tamil film star and a popular politician, as a breakaway faction of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) led by M. Karunanidhi, the then chief minister of Tamil Nadu, owing to serious differences between the two.[2] Later, MGR prefixed the All India (AI) tag to the party’s name.[3] Since its inception, the relationship between the AIADMK and DMK has been marked by mutual contempt. MGR used his fan network for building the party cadre and estimates claim his party recruited more than a million members from the first two months of creation.[4] The party tasted victory for the first time by winning the Dindigul parliamentary by-election in 1973 and also won the Coimbatore assembly by-election a year later.[4] AIADMK grew close to the Congress by supporting the Emergency which occurred between 1975 and 1977.

The DMK-led government was dismissed by a Central promulgation of corruption charges in 1976. The AIADMK swept to power in 1977, having trouncing DMK in the assembly elections. MGR was sworn in as the 7th Chief Minister of the state on the 30th of June, 1977. MGR remained in power till his death in December 1987, winning three consecutive assembly elections held in 1977, 1980 and 1984.[2] In 1979, AIADMK became the first Dravidian and regional party to be part of the Union Cabinet, when two AIADMK MP’s, Satyavani Muthu and Aravinda Bala Pajanor, joined the short-lived Charan Singh Ministry which followed the Morarji Desai-led Janata Party government of 1977–79.[3] Relations between the Congress and the AIADMK slowly became strained. In the mid-term parliamentary elections of January 1980, the Congress aligned with the DMK and the alliance won 37 out of the 39 parliamentary seats in the state; the AIADMK won just two seats.[5] After returning to power, the new prime minister, Indira Gandhi, dismissed a number of state governments belonging to the opposition parties, including the AIADMK government. Elections to the state assembly were held in late May 1980 with the opposition DMK continuing the electoral alliance with the Congress. In a massive reverse of fortunes following its humbling in the Lok Sabha elections, the AIADMK won a comfortable majority in the state assembly by winning 129 seats out of 234 and MGR was sworn in as chief minister for the second time on 9 June 1980.[5] In 1984, even with MGR’s failing health and subsequent hospitalisation abroad, the party managed to win the assembly elections in alliance with the Congress. Many political historians consider MGR’s persona and charisma at this point of time as “infallible”, and a logical continuation of his on-screen “good lad” image, strengthened by his “mythical status” in the minds of the masses.[6] MGR continued to enjoy popular support in his third tenure, which ended with his demise on 24 December 1987.[6] Succession crisis (1987–1989)

Following MGR’s death, his wife, actress-turned-politician Janaki Ramachandran rose to the party’s leadership and led the government for 24 days as the state’s 1st woman Chief Minister until the state assembly was suspended in January 1988 and President’s rule imposed. The party, began to crumble, with infighting, and broke into two factions, one under Janaki Ramachandran and the other under J. Jayalalithaa, an associate of MGR and another film actress-turned-politician who had starred with MGR in many movies and . The assembly elections in 1989 saw the DMK regaining power after 12 years in the opposition with Karunanidhi returning as the Chief Minister for the 3rd time. AIADMK, due to its split, suffered heavily in the elections, with the Janaki and Jayalalithaa factions winning only 2 and 27 seats respectively.[6] Following AIADMK’s rout in the elections, the factions led by Jayalalithaa and Janaki merged under the former’s leadership. The DMK government was dismissed in 1990 by the Central Government led by prime minister Chandra Shekhar, an ally of the AIADMK at that time, on charges that the constitutional machinery in the state had broken down.

Jayalalithaa era (1989–present)
ADMK head office in Chennai

JayalalithaThe AIADMK allied with the Congress and swept to power in the assembly elections of 1991 under the leadership of jayalalitha, who became the 2nd female chief minister and the 10th Chief Minister of the state. Many political observers have ascribed the landslide victory to the anti-incumbent wave arising out of the assassination of the former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi[6] by suspected Tamil separatists fighting for a homeland in neighbouring Sri Lanka. The ensuing government, including Jayalalithaa, was accused of large-scale corruption, but Jayalalithaa managed to hold on to power for a full term of five years. In the 1996 assembly election, AIADMK continued its alliance with the Congress but suffered a massive rout, winning only 4 out of the 234 assembly seats, with even Jayalalithaa losing from Bargur.[7][8] The AIADMK formed an alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Vaiko’s Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK), another breakaway faction of the DMK, during the parliamentary elections in 1998.[7] AIADMK shared power with the BJP in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee headed government between 1998–1999,[3] but withdrew support a year later, leading to the fall of the BJP government at the centre. Following this, the AIADMK once again aligned with the Congress.

In the 2001 assembly election, the AIADMK-led alliance, consisting of the Congress, the Tamil Maanila Congress (TMC), the Left Front and the Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK), regained power, winning 197 seats, with AIADMK winning 132 of them.[9] Due to the proceedings in a disproportionate assets case which occurred in her previous tenure, she was prevented from holding office. O. Panneerselvam, a close confidant of Jayalalithaa, was appointed as the chief minister on 21 September 2001. Once the Supreme Court overturned Jayalalithaa’s conviction and sentence in the case, Panneerselvam resigned on 2 March 2002, and Jayalalithaa was sworn in again as Chief Minister.[9] Unlike her first term, her second term was not marred by corruption scandals. She took many popular decisions such as banning of lottery tickets, restricting the liquor and sand quarrying business to government agencies and banning tobacco product sales near schools and colleges. She encouraged women to join the state police force by setting up all women-police stations and commissioning 150 women into the elite level police commandos in 2003, a first in India. They underwent the same training as their male counterparts, covering the handling of weapons, detection and disposal of bombs, driving, horseriding, and adventure sports.[10] She sent a special task force to the Satyamangalam forests in October 2004 to hunt down notorious sandalwood smuggler Veerappan. The operation was successful as Veerappan was finally killed by the task force on 18 October 2004.

However despite the popular measures taken by the government, in the 2004 Lok Sabha election, the party, in alliance with the BJP again, was humiliated, not even winning any of the 39 Lok Sabha seats from the state. The Democratic Progressive Alliance (DPA), a DMK-led alliance consisting of all the major opposition parties in the state, swept the election. Later, in the 2006 assembly election, in spite of media speculations of a hung assembly, the AIADMK, contesting with only the support of MDMK and a few other smaller parties, won 61 seats compared to the DMK’s 96 and was pushed out of power by the DMK-led alliance comprising the Congress, the PMK and the Left Front. The AIADMK’s electoral reversals continued in the 2009 Lok Sabha election, which it contested as a member of the Left Front led United National Progressive Alliance. However the party’s performance was better than its debacle in 2004, and it managed to win 9 seats.

Following widespread corruption and allegations of nepotism against the DMK government, in the 2011 assembly election, the party, in alliance with parties like the left and actor-turned-politician Vijayakanth’s Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK), swept the polls, winning 202 seats, with the AIADMK alone winning 150. Jayalalithaa was sworn in as Chief Minister for the 3rd time.[9] In the Union territory of Puducherry, the party allied with N. Rangasamy’s All India NR Congress (AINRC) and won the 2011 assembly election which was held in parallel with the Tamil Nadu assembly election. However, it did not join the newly elected AINRC-led government. The AIADMK’s good electoral performance continued in the 2014 Lok Sabha election. Contesting without allies, the AIADMK won an unprecedented 37 out of 39 seats in the state of Tamil Nadu, emerging as the third-largest party in parliament.

On September 27, 2014, Jayalalithaa was convicted in the Disproportionate Asset case against Jayalalithaa by a Special Court which convicted all four accused namely Jayalalithaa, and her associates Sasikala Natarajan, Ilavarasi and V.N. Sudhakaran and sentenced all to four year simple imprisonment. While Jayalalithaa was fined ₹100 crores, and her associates were fined ₹10 crore each. The case had political implications as it was the first case where a ruling Chief minister had to step down on account of a court sentence. [11] She was convicted for the third time overall and was forced to step down from the Chief minister’s office for the second time. Due to her resignation O.Panneerselvam was sworn in as Chief Minister on September 29, 2014.[12] Jayalalithaa has been denied bail by the High Court and has moved the Supreme Court for bail. The Supreme Court granted bail on October 17, 2014.on may 11,2015 high court of Karnataka said she was acquitted from that case.Judge kumaraswamy make a judgement that all 4 are not convicted.
Expansion beyond Tamil Nadu and Puducherry

Under Jayalalithaa’s regime, AIADMK has spread out beyond Tamil Nadu and Puducherry and state units have been established in the states of Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. The party floated 54 candidates across the state of Kerala in the 2006 assembly election and had contested on its own. In Karnataka the party had members in the state assembly and has influence in the Tamil-speaking areas of Bangalore and Kolar district. The AIADMK has a following in various other places like Mumbai and Delhi. There are also units in various countries where Tamils are present.