South megastar Rajinikanth on Sunday spoke glowingly of J Jayalalithaa, who died last week, and remarked that he had “hurt her” by making critical statements that, he said, damaged her party in a state election 20 years ago.
Speaking during a condolence meet for the former chief minister organised by the Nadigar Sangam (South Indian Artists’ Association), the actor said his campaign speech ensured AIADMK’s defeat in 1996. “I had criticized her and hurt her. I was an important reason for her defeat,” he said.
“I had criticized her and hurt her. I was an important reason for her defeat,” he said.
Rajinikanth added that when his daughter Aishwarya’s wedding was planned to happen at his house at Poes Garden, he wanted to invite his neighbour Jayalalithaa but was embarrassed because of the things he had said. “We got the appointment the very next day. I thought the invitation was only a formality and she would not come,” he said.
“She told me that a wedding at a partyman’s family on the same day but she would postpone that wedding and come for Aishwarya’s wedding. This lady with a golden heart is no more among us,” Rajini said.
The Kabali actor said Jayalalithaa was one of the few who turned trials into triumph. Having lost her father at the age of two and mother 20 years later, she faced various challenges including having no family but achieved fame by hard work in a male-dominated society, he said.
“She is like a diamond. All the criticism and suffering polished her. Despite the pressure from a patriarchal society, she shone like one (diamond) and now she rests, like a Kohinoor diamond, besides Puratchi Thalaivar MGR’s memorial,” Rajinikanth said.
The relationship between Jayalalithaa and Rajinikanth had been a stormy one with the actor seeming to take on the AIADMK leader, using political innuendos in his film dialogues. Rajnikanth declined to take sides in subsequent elections but made no secret of his friendship with BJP leader Narendra Modi and his leanings towards the saffron party. Hospitalised on September 22 and having suffered a cardiac arrest on December 4, 68year-old Jayalalithaa passed away the next day. He also paid rich tributes to Cho Ramaswamy, his long-time friend. Ramaswamy, a veteran journalist, satirist, playwright and actor died of illness on December 7.