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The Rediff Interview/V S Chandralekha

'The party is not Jayalalitha's property'

V S Chandralekha When you asked for support from various political parties, did you expect support from the AIADMK?

No. I didn't. The appeal was a general appeal. It came as a bolt in the blue.

Did it surprise you when it came?

It really surprised us. We were totally taken by surprise. I think it is a very intelligent political move on her part.

Did you think twice before accepting the support?

See, it was not support that was sought. It was support that was given. I didn't have to reject it. After all, she is the general secretary of a party. When she is giving the support, it is the party that is giving the support. What do I have against the party? I have nothing against the cadres. In fact, Karunanidhi tells them, Chidambaram tells them that they (the cadres) can always come and work for them.

Jayalalitha You should understand that the party is not her (Jayalalitha's) personal property. So when she is extending support, it is the party that is extending support, not she. You have to a make a distinction between the two. I am not compromising on any of my cases. The cases are with the various investigating agencies. They are not in my control at all. They are either with the state government or the central government. I am not giving anything away by accepting her support.

The general feeling is quite different because it was Dr Swamy....

No, the general feeling is not so. A section is trying to spread that deliberately. They want to divert the attention from the dynastic rule and Stalin so that the entire issue gets diverted. It is not correct at all. She gave the support because it suited her.

Will Dr Swamy stop attacking her (Jayalalitha) now?

Dr Subramanian Swamy No, why should we? See, it is not attacking. I think the film culture has taken hold of all of you in a big way! You all have such wonderful imagination. What is this attack? The attack had never been personal.

On her wealth.

Okay. We are not going to leave that. Cases are all there. Why are you assuming that something is going to happen to the cases? Has anything come in your way to show that we have slowed down in the process?


Then, why are you imagining things?

Is not a delicate situation now? She has extended her party support to you and, if Dr Swamy continues attacking her..

Why should there be any embarrassment? We didn't ask for her support. But I am not going to say no to a support that came.

I have heard that you very close to Jayalalitha when you served the state as an IAS officer. Was it true?

Yes. I have known her. I do not know what you mean by close. I have known her. Then the SPIC deal came through and I differed with her.

Was that the only reason why the relationship got strained?

You see, there was never a close relationship. So there was no question of the relationship getting strained. What do I say? Yes, I have known her. But I'll not say I was close to her. I have been a friend of hers, but always maintained a distance as I was a civil servant. As a civil servant, you may have many friends. But there is no such thing like straining of a relationship.

Straining of the friendship, then.

Once she became chief minister , where is the question of a friendship? She was the chief minister, and I was a civil servant. That was all about the relationship.

I have also read in some papers that it was you who introduced Sasikala to Jayalalitha. Is it true?

Yes, that is true. Sasikala also admitted it. I had sent a recommendation to her (Jayalalitha) to take Sasikala as her videographer. She had a video shop then. As propaganda secretary of the AIADMK, Jayalalitha's programmes used to be videographed. This lady (Sasikala) came and requested me whether I can talk to her (Jayalalitha) and see that she was made her (Jayalalitha's) permanent videographer. So I recommended her.

Will you ever be able to forgive the person who was behind the acid attack on you?

I am not a vengeful person. I don't carry any grudge. If there is real repentance on the part of that person, may be I'll forgive. Because ultimately one should leave everything to God, shouldn't we?

Did that incident leave any scar inside you, like the scars that are there on your face?

I'll tell you something that happened in the hospital. One of my friends brought a Mother Superior from a convent to meet me. I was all bandaged. She prayed for me and told me, 'I see light and know you will recover to a great extent,' which I have. See it could have been worse. She told me not to have any negative feelings and not to keep any anger inside me because she felt that would delay the healing process. From that moment onwards I told myself that I will not entertain any negative feelings in me. It has helped me, helped me a lot.

Chandralekha's Photographs: R Kannan

The Rediff Interview

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