Excerpts from the interview:
In 1989, the Jayalalithaa faction emerged stronger than the Janaki faction. How was the election result seen?
For the first time in the history of Tamil Nadu, a woman became leader of the Opposition. The achievement will last forever, won’t it?
You started staying in the Poes Garden after MGR’s death and stayed away from your husband. Was that difficult?
It was difficult. On that night, some people broke into the Poes Garden house with weapons. The compound wall was only six feet then. That was the reason why the height of the wall was increased. During that period, Madhusudhanan and other party members started staying in the house. Several people came from our place. All would sleep in veranda. After that, I decided to stay with Akka.
How did the two factions unite?
They understood that the reason for the electoral defeat was infighting. So they decided to unite.
Did the road accident in February 1990 affect you and Jaya?
Yes. On February 23, we were returning to Chennai after campaigning for Lok Sabha elections. The next day was Akka’s birthday. As the house was only 10 minutes away, I was sitting in the front. After five minutes, a lorry laden with gravel hit our car twice. It was said that DMK’s symbol was painted on the front of the lorry. My face was severely injured, including injuries to the eyes due to shards of the windshield. The scars under my eyes are because of that. Akka was also injured.
Do you think the incident was deliberate?
We heard that someone was speaking on a wireless device when the incident happened.
Did such incidents weaken Jaya’s willpower?
It did. We were told that the lorry driver was sent off after paying a fine.
In 2011, Jaya ousted you from Poes Garden house. Why did that happen?
There was a plot and Akka wanted to know who all were involved. I told her to send me out and issue a statement. Two days later, she sent me a mobile phone and continued to speak regularly using that.