AIADMK: Tracing The Journey From Its Formation To Its Alliances, Governments And Power Struggles

In 1988, J. Jayalalithaa is elected general secretary of the party. V.N. Janaki Ramachandran, wife of MGR rises to party leadership and serves as the first female CM of the state for a month.

Photo via AP
Tamil Nadu state Chief Minister and Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) leader Jayaram Jayalalitha addresses a public rally in Kancheepuram, 60 kilometers (37 miles) from southern Indian city of Chennai, India, Monday, March 3, 2014. Photo via AP

In Tamil Nadu politics, the cult of personality has played a very important role in shaping the opinion of the voters. As many critics have pointed out, from MG Ramachandran’s infallible personality and asserting political power in the state to Jayalalithaa’s image as the supreme leader who did not fear to walk into elections without alliances, AIADMK’s trajectory has been shaped by the influence of its leaders, factional disturbances and its shifting alliances. Outlook looks a concise timeline of the party.

1972: MG Ramachandran (MGR) expelled from DMK for demanding account as party treasurer. Forms the Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (ADMK). Prefixes All India to the name to protect the party from MISA.

1973: Party records first victory in a parliamentary by-election. Emerges as the third-largest political party in Tamil Nadu, represented by 11 MLAs in the state assembly.

1976: Becomes second-largest party in the state assembly with 6 MLAs. Grows close with Congress over the course of the Emergency.

1977: 1977 Lok Sabha elections see AIADMK ally with INC and CPI go against DMK-NC(O)-JNP-CPM and win 34 out of 39 seats. In the state assembly elections which follows, that very year, AIADMK in alliance with CPI(M) wins an overwhelming 144 seats, coming to power for the first time in the state. MGR becomes the chief minister of Tamil Nadu.

1980: This time DMK in alliance with INC, wins 37 seats in the Lok Sabha elections, with AIADMK winning 2 seats. The President, Sajiva Reddy dissolves the TN state assembly for failure of state machinery. In a reversal of fortunes, AIADMK front including CPI and CPIM wins 162 seats, with MGR becoming the CM of the state for the second time.

1984: AIADMK in alliance with INC win 37 out of 39 seats in TN in the Lok Sabha elections, marking the beginning of the AIADMK-INC rule in the state. In the state assembly elections, AIADMK alliance sweeps the assembly polls, winning 195 seats.

1987: MGR passes away at the age of 70.

1988: J. Jayalalithaa is elected general secretary of the party. V.N. Janaki Ramachandran, wife of MGR rises to party leadership and serves as the first female CM of the state for a month. State assembly is dissolved, and the President's Rule is imposed. Paty begins to crumble owing to infighting between factions under Jayalalithaa (AIADMK (J)) and Janaki AIADMK(JA). EC freezes the AIADMK 'two leaves’ symbol.

1989: AIADMK unites under the leadership of Jayalalithaa with the party symbol restored. Although the INC-AIADMK alliance sweeps the Lok Sabha seats in the state, winning 38 out of 39, DMK comes back to power in the state in the assembly polls that year winning with M. Karunanidhi becomes CM for the third time.

1991: DMK government dissolved by Prime Minister Chandra Sekhar citing collapse of law and order in the state. AIADMK in alliance with INC sweeps the state assembly elections winning a mammoth 225 seats in contrast to the DMK alliance winning 7. Jayalalithaa becomes CM for the first time. In the Lok Sabha polls, AIADMK-Congress alliance wins all 39 seats from the state.

1996: Following Congress’ decision to ally with AIADMK despite soaring tensions, a breakaway faction is formed called the Tamil Maanila Congress (TMC). The TMC, DMK alliance routs AIADMK in the state assembly polls, winning 221 seats while the AIADMK wins only 2. Karunanidhi becomes CM. In the Lok Sabha polls, the AIADMK alliance fails to win a single seat.

1998: AIADMK breaks off long-time association with Congress. Joins the NDA, with the alliance winning 30 seats in the Lok Sabha polls.

1999: Leaves the NDA, and allies with the INC for the Lok Sabha polls, and wins 13 seats against the DMK-BJP alliance securing the majority with 26 seats.

2001: AIADMK alliance with Congress wins 196 seats in the state assembly. Jayalalithaa is unable to be sworn in as CM owing to criminal charges from her previous term. O. Panneerselvam (OPS) is sworn in as CM, and resigns in 2002 allowing Jayalalithaa to take charge as CM after clearing her charges.

2004: AIADMK and the NDA fail to win a single seat from the state in the Lok Sabha polls.

2006: AIADMK goes into the assembly polls without the support of BJP or Congress, winning 61 seats. With no party winning a single majority, DMK with the support of left parties and Congress forms a minority government.

2009: AIADMK in alliance with left parties and the MDMK win only 12 seats from the state in the Lok Sabha polls.

2011: AIADMK returns to power in the state winning an overwhelming 150 seats and the alliance with DMDK and left parties securing 203 seats. Jayalalithaa becomes CM for the fourth time.


2014-15: AIADMK, without joining any alliance, contested the Lok Sabha polls winning 37 out of 39 seats from the state, becoming the third-largest party in the Lok Sabha, a regional party feat which stands till date. Jayalalithaa is convicted in a disproportionate assets case, steps down as CM owing to a court sentence. OPS is sworn in as CM and remains till 2015 till Jayalalithaa’s acquittal. She is sworn in as CM for the fifth time in 2015.

2016: AIADMK, unallied, sweeps the state assembly polls winning 136 seats. Jayalalithaa becomes CM for the sixth time. Jayalalithaa passes away at the age of 68.


2017: V Sasikala, a close aide of Jayalalithaa, takes leadership of the party but is named in a disproportionate assets case. She names Edapaddi K Palaniswami (EPS) as party leader before her imprisonment. OPS rebels against EPS faction (AIADMK Amaa) and forms AIADMK (Puratchi Thalaivi Amma). Appointment of Sasikala as General Secretary is cancelled. EPS and OPS factions merge under both as joint-coordinators. Dual leadership replaces the position of general secretary. EPS becomes the CM, while OPS becomes the Deputy CM.

2019: AIADMK in alliance with NDA wins a solitary seat against the DMK led Secular Progressive alliance winning 38 seats in the Lok Sabha polls.


2021: AIADMK-NDA alliance loses power in the state, collapsing to defeat winning 75 seats against the DMK-led SPA’s 159 seats.

2022: OPS is expelled from the party. Dual leadership system is done away with and EPS is elected as the interim general secretary of the party. Supreme Court dismisses OPS plea to Madras HC.

2023: Election Commission recognises EPS as the general secretary of AIADMK. The party officially announces its exit from the NDA.