Jayalalitha, Jayaram

Jayalalitha, Jayaram,

1948–2016, Indian film actress and politician. During her successful acting career (1964–80), she appeared in over 100 films, many of them with the Dravidian actor Maruthur Gopala Ramachandran, who founded the All-India Dravidian Progressive Federation in 1972. Jayalalitha joined the party in 1982, becoming propaganda secretary (1983) and winning election to the Indian parliament's upper house (1984). In 1987, following Ramachandran's death, the party split; Jayalalitha became head of one faction, and Ramachandran's widow the other. By 1991, however, the two factions had merged, and Jayalalitha began the first of three terms as chief minister of Tamil NaduTamil Nadu
, formerly Madras
, state (2001 provisional pop. 62,110,839), 50,180 sq mi (129,966 sq km), SE India, on the Bay of Bengal. The capital is Chennai (formerly Madras).
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 state (1991–96, 2002–6, 2011–14, 2015–16). Although she was the subject of numerous corruption charges, she remained popular, in part because of social programs her government instituted.
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