Chennai: In Delhi or Mumbai, if you were to hear cries of 'Long Live Amma' do not be alarmed. They are just happy birthday expressions from supporters of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa who has hinted at her Prime Ministerial ambitions.
As she turns 66, Jayalalithaa will be looking to project her national ambitions even further than the statement she made on Friday.
'I have a vision for India in which Tamil Nadu will play a key role, a vision of a resurgent India, a nation with an inclusive society and open markets, a nation of enterprise and creativity driven by knowledge and shaped by family values. A nation of growth with equity, a nation with peace, stability and development, a modern, secular and prosperous India. I want to assure you all that this day is not far," Jayalalithaa said on February 21.
Brand experts say her populist moves and posturing tick all the right boxes. In 2011, Jayalalithaa, using her nickname, began various schemes under the brand of 'Amma'. Following the success of Amma canteens and Amma mineral water, Amma Medical Centres and Amma theatres have been announced too. Observers say such branding will hold her in good stead.
"Clearly she has political ambitions. Even in Bangalore, there are Amma canteens near the railway station. It's a huge hit. All the posters in the city refer to her as a future PM. I'm sure her people and she want to expand the footprint of the party and the brand beyond Tamil Nadu where it is already very strong. The term Amma is also not essentially Tamil. Even the choice of brand name is significant," said Sridhar Ramanujam, CEO, Brand-Comm.
While some may frown at her style of populism, the brand Amma has reached out to the common man through the welfare schemes. Jayalalithaa has made her moves carefully in aligning her brand with her party's stances.