04 May 1998 National Cover Story

The Revenge Of Draupadi

JAYALALITHA loyalists have a pet theory about her hatred towards Karunanidhi and the DMK. They point to an incident which occurred in the Tamil Nadu assembly on March 25, 1989, when a DMKMLA tugged at Jayalalitha’s cape. She was quick to reap political mileage and the AIADMK drew a parallel with the disrobing of Draupadi. Karunanidhi was compared to Duryodhan. In fact, Jayalalitha kept harping on the incident in her 1991 election campaign.

 Trouble broke out even as Karunanidhi, who also held the finance portfolio, was presenting the budget and Jayalalitha, as the leader of the Opposition, was obstructing proceedings. She was very vocal in her demand that Karunanidhi resign. She summoned AIADMK MLA K.A. Sengottiyan to ‘attack’ the CM. In the pandemonium that followed, Jayalalitha was roughed up by DMK members led by Durai Murugan.

But Jayalalitha’s antipathy towards Karunanidhi dates back to MGR’s death. Karun-anidhi and his deputy K. Anbazhagan had then publicly denounced her as a political non-entity. During the 1989 assembly campaign, the DMK deliberately avoided mentioning her or her party, since Karunanidhi’s stand was that the AIADMK under Jayalalitha was an insignificant force. She has not forgotten the humiliation.

The AIADMK and the DMK have always been political rivals. However, MGR had a healthy respect for Karunanidhi. In Jayalalitha’s case, the resentment manifests itself in very personal attacks. Karunanidhi and the DMK top her hate list. TMC chief G.K.Moopanar is not far behind. And while he was Tamil Nadu governor, the late M. Chenna Reddy too was a victim of Jayalalitha’s wrath.

She is convinced that Moopanar prevented her from becoming CM after MGR’s death by prevailing upon Rajiv Gandhi not to back her. The TMC chief has also always considered her a film actress, not a serious politician—something that upsets her no end. She sought revenge by having him sacked as president of the TNCC.

Man or woman, Jayalalitha spares no one whom she considers her foe. Thus, she publicly accused Janaki Ramachandran, wife of MGR, of serving her husband poisoned buttermilk and killing him. The question is: who will be her next target?

Next Story : The Life And Times Of Jayalalitha
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