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The Rediff Special/Cho Ramaswamy

'Jayalalitha means business'

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It is shameful, the way the BJP has been conceding every demand of hers, trying to placate her and sending ambassadors to her. The BJP has still not officially appointed an ambassador to Poes Garden, but otherwise, they have done everything else. For sometime, Jaswant Singh was the ambassador; now the rumour is that Bhairon Singh Shekhawat will be appointed the ambassador. The BJP is definitely conceding all her demands to the extent that they look like cowards. Fortunately, the Vajpayee Cabinet has two men in Ram Jethmalani and Ramakrishna Hegde. Vajpayee appears to be the deputy prime minister now.

As a political observer, let me say success in this election has gone to her head so much that she thinks she can get away with everything. In her opinion, the BJP government is a creation of hers. She doesn't think that others in the government count. She thinks, without my 27 members, there is no government, so it is my government. If it is so, Hegde can say that, Chandrababu Naidu can say that, George Fernandes can say that and so many others can say that. But she obviously thinks the BJP government is a creation of hers.

I think this behaviour is a kind of megalomania. I don't think this is an extension of her film career because in films, this kind of behaviour is not possible. The film world is much more sensible. If somebody behaves like this in the production of a film, s/he will be chucked out of the production and lose their market afterwards. People would stop looking up at you when you start behaving like this. Film producers are not as weak as prime ministers.

I don't think what Jayalalitha is doing now is a ploy to get attention. She means business. She wants the DMK government to go, so that even if she doesn't come to power immediately, it will be governor's rule here. Then she can change the prosecution counsel. That is, her counsel will be the prosecution counsel. When her counsel are the prosecution counsel in all the cases against her, naturally the cases will be thoroughly mishandled by the prosecution. It will go to such an extent that the courts will throw them out. The cases will not be dropped or withdrawn but the prosecution can spoil the cases so effectively that they will be dismissed outright. Then, she can tell the people that she has been implicated falsely.

This, I think, must be her plan. Because she is in a great hurry to get rid of this government so that this task of hers could be accomplished.

Since the BJP has not been able to concede this demand of hers, she is creating all sorts of problems for them, telling them in effect that unless you meet my demand, that is, the dismissal of the Tamil Nadu government, you cannot run your government peacefully.

How can you call this courage? When a person behaves like this, in the most abominable fashion, you can't call this courage. Her purpose is not yet served. She has won an election but her purpose still remains unserved. The purpose is to get rid of this government. That is her anger. Why should she worry about what impression she is going to create in the minds of the people of the north of the west or in the south? Why should she bother about it when her aim or immediate objective is to wriggle out of the cases? Her aim is not to get kudos from the people.

Let me ask you something, will it not affect her if the cases are continued in right earnest? That will affect her more. The cases will damage her more, if it takes the normal course. It is credibility versus being found guilty in criminal cases. So, which would worry a person more?

I do not want to talk about my association with her. Because she issued a public notice, a statement which appeared in all the newspapers saying that since I have hurt her so much politically, I should not call myself a friend of hers. Well, I feel relieved.

It is a fact -- or a part of it is true -- that there is no AIADMK without her. The leaders of the AIADMK had been behaving like this for the last 10 or 15 years and Vajpayee has been doing it for the last 10 or 15 days. Her number two in Madras is (V R) Neduchezhiyan and her number two in Delhi is Vajpayee. I think she is becoming very unpopular by what she is doing. But she thinks she can suffer that fall in popularity for the time being, that is, if she can see that the cases are totally spoilt against her.

Her future as a politician depends on certain things. If this DMK government is dismissed. If the courts approve of the dismissal. If Parliament also approves of the dismissal. If there is an election. If the DMK is able to form a meaningful alliance, not leaving out parties out of overconfidence like they did last time. The DMK can win the election. A part of those who voted for Jayalalitha will definitely vote against her next time.

In politics, I don't see any end, everything is a continuation. I don't think this behavior of hers will stop. She will continue behaving like this. She is very angry with the situation because she has won a massive victory, but still has nothing to show. A Thambidurai or a Sedapati is not her aim, she couldn't care less. What about the cases?

I don't think Subramanian Swamy is instigating Jayalalitha. I think he is only supplying material to her. Contrary to what was reported widely, I feel she listens to others too. This alliance with the BJP was something which was suggested to her by MDMK leader V Gopalasamy. She listened to him. So, sometimes she may also listen to others.

If I were to describe the five years that she ruled Tamil Nadu, I'll say, in the first year, she functioned very well particularly on the LTTE front. That was the issue on which the Karunanidhi government was dismissed. So, she began well but the sycophants around her, the way they bent before her, the way Sasikala Natarajan and others started influencing her, well, it deteriorated very fast. It became one of the most corrupt regimes, not only Tamil Nadu but the country has ever seen. Corruption was made a lifestyle by the DMK but then she perfected the art.

If she comes back to power, I think, she will be worse. I hope God spares Tamil Nadu!

As told to Shobha Warrier

The Rediff Special

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