Answer by Sharmilli Priyadarsini:
I would say, the cleverest politician in India is Ms.J.Jayalalitha. After the death of MGR, the party AIADMK had suffered severe groupism, Janaki front and Jayalalitha front. Even though Janaki Ramachandran, wife of MGR, succeeded him as the Chief Minister of Tamilnadu, She could not last long in the post. Tamilnadu saw general elections in 1989 , which was a huge set back to AIADMK, the party that remained unbeatable until MGR's death. Ms.Jayalalitha, who chosen as the leader of opposition has been humiliated by DMK members () in the assembly during the budget session of 1989, challenged the ruling DMK that she will step into the Assembly only as the Chief minister and not otherwise. The assembly elections in 1991 gave Ms.Jayalalitha and her party a huge victory, this time the fissures in the party was fixed and she sworn in as the Chief Minister of Tamilnadu for the first time. Her first tenure from 1991-1996, was not very good in terms of administration and it costed her loose the assembly elections in 1996 to DMK, but She established herself as a powerful politician.
Although she was summoned by the courts on various cases and arrested in Dec 7 1996, the role played by her to dissolve Vajpayee's government in 1999 established her as an invincible icon in Indian politics. Her party did not do well in the Loksabha elections but managed to sweep the polls in the 2001 assembly elections ,which made her the Chief Minister again. Her administration during 2001 to 2006 is quiet laudable , in spite of the facts that she handled the government officials strike with the iron arms, that resulted in suspension and arrest of thousands of government officials under TESMA; During the same tenure, Mr.Karunanithi was arrested and later released for the controversy in building flyovers; She stepped down as Chief Minister for a term of six months due to the charges on her over inappropriate assets case. But she managed to nullify every barrier that came on her way. She has introduced many visionary schemes like rain water harvesting, free cycles for the students, Girl child protection scheme and other women welfare schemes during this tenure.
She has lost the assembly elections of 2006, but she made a huge come back in 2011 elections and her government successfully fulfilled its promises to the people by issuing free mixer, grinder and fans, laptop to the higher secondary students, 4 grams gold & 25000 to the newly marrying needy women etc. This tenure of her had a big villain to fight with, the scarcity of electricity in state, which she has managed to bring down for a notable scale. AIADMK has now emerged as the third largest party in the Lok sabha elections 2014.
After being convicted for inappropriate assets case , she stepped down as the Chief minister, succeeded by Mr.O.Panneerselvam. When the critics are on real high discussing the downfall Ms.Jayalalitha's political career, she managed to get the bail in historic 21 days time and released from the jail. The only good news for her opponents is that she cannot contest in assembly elections for the next 10 years unless she win over the charges against her. For this one question if she can win against her charges, only time has the answer.
Nevertheless, Ms.Jayalalitha, the actor turned politician has multiple talents, a multilingual personality who could fluently speak 5 languages, a straight forward, brave decision maker, an able administrator is the cleverest politician in India. Of course, she is the rare combination of beauty and intelligence. She has nullified so many charges against her and emerged victorious like a Phoenix from every failure.