Born in the same month (February) of the same year (1948), she was a little over two weeks younger than him. In the world of politics, though, J. Jayalalithaa always called the shots, leaving Prakash Karat and his party disgruntled.
In a short reminiscence reported by The Telegraph, Karat, former general secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and a Chennai man, spoke fondly of his acquaintance with the recently deceased chief minister of Tamil Nadu. However, the equation between All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) and CPI(M) was far from equitable.
"I came to know her in the years 2008 to 2014," he told the paper in a written statement. "In this period, the CPI(M) had an electoral understanding twice for the Lok Sabha elections and once for the Assembly polls." None of these deals worked out.
In 2011, the Left's chances were hurt at the nick of time when Amma decided to snap ties with them ahead of the polls. This year, which brought her back to power spectacularly, she offered the Communist Party of India and CPI(M) one seat each -- needless to say, both parties refused to accept her charity.
The personal dynamics between Jayalalithaa and Karat were mostly amicable. He described her, like most do, as "an intelligent politician" who could be rather "strong-willed". Just as she could be the soul of charm, Jayalalithaa could lash back at her opponents, if displeased. Her dual personality was in evidence the last time the two met in 2014.
While she was displeased with the CPI(M)'s criticism of the AIADMK's policies and not in the best of health, she still met Karat. "You would have been angry," she reportedly told Karat, and added, "Having met you, I feel better now."
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