If She Wins: How Rajini Once Caused Jayalalithaa a Crushing Defeat
Twenty years later, Rajinikanth even shared how much he regretted making that campaign speech against Jayalalithaa.
“Even God can’t save Tamil Nadu if Jayalalithaa returns to power.”
These were the words of superstar Rajinikanth from a campaign speech in 1996, that are believed by many to have cost the late Puratchi Thalaivi that election.
Twenty years later, at Jayalalithaa’s condolence meet, a glum Rajinikanth even shared how much he regretted making that campaign speech against her.
“I had criticised her and hurt her. I was an important reason for her defeat.”Rajinikanth
But, what had happened?
The Birth of a New Party
In 1996, as Jayalalithaa inched towards the end of her first term as chief minister, the public was reportedly very angry following an “ostentatious display of wealth” at her foster son Sudhakaran’s wedding in Chennai.
According to TNM, allegations against Jayalalithaa of corruption and amassing of wealth were also doing the rounds.
In 1991, Jayalalithaa had come to power along with the Congress party, but that alliance hit rocky roads soon enough. Union Minister of State for Commerce P Chidambaram led the corruption campaign against Jayalalithaa’s AIADMK government, and other Congress leader like even opposed the alliance.
However, Congress President PV Narasimha Rao reportedly felt that an alliance with the pro-LTTE leaning DMK would hurt the Congress’ prospects. Thus, Narasimha Rao revived the Congress-AIADMK alliance.
On the altar of this alliance, came the birth of Tamil Maanila Congress (TMC).
Disappointed with the Congress high command’s call to continue with Jayalalithaa, GK Moopanar floated the Tamil Maanila Congress (TMC) splitting the Congress’ state unit into two.
A Crushing Defeat
According to The News Minute, writer and analyst Gnani Sankaran opines:
“In 1996 when the Tamil Maanila Congress was formed, it wasn’t a split in the Congress. It was virtually the Congress converting itself into TMC. And those who were left behind were very few in number. The state Congress party became TMC at that time.”
TMC and DMK, thereby, joined hands, and journalist and political commentator Cho Ramaswamy, who is said to have brought the duo together brought in his friend superstar Rajinikanth to campaign for the alliance.
Further, according to TNM, “while the actor’s fans aggressively campaigned for the DMK-TMC alliance, political leaders did not shy away from playing the Rajini card.”
“Our alliance has the blessings of my dear younger brother, superstar Rajinikanth.”Karunanidhi, as reported by GC Shekhar, in India Today
Rajini’s emphatic criticism of the Thalaivi’s politics, coupled with the rising anger against Jayalalithaa’s government, worked impeccably well for the DMK-TMC alliance.
Jayalalithaa’s AIADMK suffered an embarrassing defeat winning only four seats, while DMK-TMC swept 221 out of 223.
(With inputs from The News Minute.)
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