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J Jayalalithaa

One of the most controversial and enigmatic politicians in the country, the temperamental Tamil Nadu Chief Minister is aptly dubbed as 'Tamil Tigress' or the 'Queen of Tamil politics'.

india Updated: Apr 20, 2004 14:39 IST

One of the most controversial and enigmatic politicians in the country, the temperamental Tamil Nadu Chief Minister is aptly dubbed as 'Tamil Tigress' or the 'Queen of Tamil politics'.

Her AIADMK is now an ally of the BJP, but, experts say, it is not without something in return, which has not yet revealed. In the past, whenever she extended support to any party, she demanded and got a hefty price for that.

When she pulled down Vajpayee Government in 1999, BJP accused her of being a mercenary and fought next Lok Sabha polls in Tamil Nadu as an ally of DMK, but now she is back with BJP, though only as an outside supporter. Of course, there are no permanent friends and fores in politics.

For years now, the political contests in tamil Nadu have always been Jaya vs the rest. Her arch rival DMK chief M Karunanidhi has made the election a redferendum on 'misrule' of Jaya Govt.

Before elections where announced, Jaya had been flirting with the idea of going it alone, hoping for a third front to come about as in 1996. But Karunanidhi's decision to unhitch the DMK from the NDA to re-establish his secular credentials put paid to that plan.

The prospect of anti-AIADMK votes consolidating behind DMK forced Jaya to ally with the BJP. She now hopes to neutralise the Oppn's arithmatical advantage with Vajpayee's feel good factor.

As she has to fight the BJP's battle and peddle the 'Sonia is a foreigner' line in the state, the BJP is content with a paltry seven seats.

Her problem is that barring the MDMK, the rest of Karunanidhi's present allies had fought the 2001 assembly elections alongside her. To undermine the damage, she may once again try to switch sides if the BJP-led NDA is not in a position to form the government. She is one of those chief ministers, after all, who needs a friendly government in New Delhi so that the heat of the court cases against her remains deflected.

However, she knows that a Congress Government could be deterimental to her interests.

First Published: Mar 24, 2004 12:48 IST