Subramanian Swamy first initiated the corruption case against J Jayalalithaa 18 years ago. Following the special court’s conviction order, the maverick politician who veers between Loose Cannon and Lone Ranger, took time out to speak with Raghuvir Badrinath of Business Standard at the IIM-Bangalore campus where he is urging students to actively take up cudgels against corruption. Swamy, who has been given extra security after his house was pelted with stones, shares his thoughts on the fallout of Jayalalitha’s conviction. Edited excerpts:
Q: After 18 years, your move has finally reached fruition?
A: Yes …I am very happy that I am vindicated. I had started this fight against corruption and I am continuing this fight on 2G, National Herald and AirAsia. We have prevailed in the 2G issue as well, to a large extent. I am happy that efforts are bearing fruit and I will continue to fight corruption. I had raised the issue of coal allocations as well, but since I was overloaded with other cases, another BJP member took that issue forward and we are seeing the good news coming out there as well.
Q: However, the legal process has taken 18 years. Isn’t that a disturbing factor?
A: It is, but times are changing. The 2G issue was wrapped up in three years and we hope the other major issues will be wrapped within the next two years. It is more heartening that a Sessions Court was able to give this kind of judgement against a person who is powerfully situated. It is a good sign for fighting corruption in India.
Q: How do you see this verdict playing out in the political situation in Tamil Nadu?
A: For a long time, Tamil Nadu was run by the two parties – DMK and AIADMK. Now with Jayalalitha convicted and with DMK discredited in the 2G scam, there is clear need for a national party to take control. BJP has a good chance in this vacuum and we need to work actively for the 2016 Assembly elections in Tamil Nadu. I don’t think we should push for early elections in TN as we need work extensively on the ground and I am all for two years for preparing that platform in TN. However, BJP should contest all the seats alone and not align with fringe parties such as Vaiko or Ramdas. I had urged Narendra Modi to take up the issue of contesting in TN in the Parliamentary Elections in all seats, but was outvoted. However, the time is now pretty ripe for us.
Q: Do you feel that AIADMK will capitulate after Jayalalitha being convicted?
A: It has been for a long time a one-woman party and with today’s development, I am not sure how AIADMK will consolidate going forward. I feel that some people may move away to other parties and AIADMK may soon be relegated to the sidelines or may wither away.
Q: There is increased worry about violence as a fallout of this court decision?
A: I am confident of the state and central machinery gearing up to stem untoward incidents in the bud. The Home Minister should sent out a clear message and maintain law and order. Regarding my house being pelted, it is nothing new. I have faced such situations many number of times and I certainly don’t believe that such elements will give up easily.