Both J Jayalalithaa and M Karunanidhi are star politicians of Tamil Nadu. People have been drawing similarities and also controversies involving the two leaders.

More than the evidence of love, there are plenty of incidents where Karunanidhi and Jayalalithaa expressed hatred openly for each other.

Here are five such incidents from the history of Tamil Nadu politics about their avowed, mutual animus.

Rival parties

MG Ramachandran and Karunanidhi were close friends and budding leaders in the Dravida Munnetra Kazagam (DMK) party. When MGR outshone Karunanidhi, who was in the party since he was a 14-years old boy, it led to the souring of their relationship. This turned into rivalry when MGR broke away from DMK and launched his own party AIMDK. Later, Jayalalithaa led AIMDK (which became AIADMK), and the rivalry between the leaders worsened.

Abuses hurled, Jayalalithaa's sari pulled

The incident of Jayalalithaa's sari being pulled by a DMK minister Durai Murugan inside Tamil Nadu Assembly led to a rage. The political rivalry between Karunanidhi and Jayalalithaa took an ugly turn on 25 March 1989 when a scuffle between DMK and AIADMK party workers ensued. At the spur of the moment, Jayalalithaa called Karunanidhi (then CM and Finance Minister) Kutravali (meaning criminal in Tamil language).

Within a minute, AIADMK members shielded Jayalalithaa as Karunanidhi was slamming her with verbal attacks on her personal life. She was about to get out of the House when Durai Swamy rushed towards her and in a bid to pull her hair, he pulled the sari, which got torn. The situation then spiralled out of control, with abuses hurled from either side.

Karunanidhi's midnight arrest a tit for tat?

In the midnight of 30 June 2001, DMK Chief Karunanidhi was literally dragged from his residence in Chennai. He was arrested for his alleged involvement in the Rs 12 crore flyover scam. Karunanidhi, along with three others, were remanded to judicial custody till 10 July. In addition, his bail plea was postponed for hearing on 3 July. The reports stated that the police physically lifted a wheelchair-bound Karunanidhi as he was shouting that the police were trying to kill him.

When all this happened, Jayalalithhaa was the chief minister of Tamil Nadu. This incident was seen as a tit-for-tat tactic by Jayalalithaa for the abuses and sari-pulling incident inside the Assembly.

Jaya VS Sun?

Karunanidhi started his own stream of TV channels named Sun TV, which sometimes even works as a propaganda channel, whereas Jayalalithaa had Jaya TV sometimes with programmes favouring the AIADMK.

Speaking about Karunanidhi's midnight arrest incident, it appeared on Sun TV as though the police were dragging Karunanidhi, whereas the visuals where Karunanidhi is resisting the arrest were emphasised on Jaya TV. This is just one example of how incidents are shown with an angle in both the TVs. So this is actually Jayalalithaa VS Karunanidhi in the form of Jaya VS Sun.

Soft corner

Both Jayalalithaa and Karunanidhi have hurled personal abuses at each other. But incidents also show that Jayalalithaa had a soft corner for Karunanidhi's son MK Stalin. Stalin would reciprocate by paying visit to Apollo Hospital when Jayalalithaa was admitted to the private hospital in September 2017. In fact, Karunanidhi's wife (Kanimozhi's mother) Rajathi Ammal too had a soft corner for Jayalalithaa. She visited the hospital, too, even though no one was allowed inside to meet Jayalalithaa duriing her last days at the hospital.   

The similarities of being starlets in the Tamil film industry, stalwarts in politics did not help in easing the rivalry between Jayalalithaa and Karunanidhi. Instead, the relationship turned from bad to worse as time passed.