Chennai: Gautami Tadimalla is one of the star campaigners of the BJP in Tamil Nadu. The yesteryear actor has been deputed to take on her long-time associate Kamal Hassan in the constituencies where his new party is cutting its teeth.
Originally from Hyderabad, Gautami started schooling in Kerala. She went to St Pius School in Vandiperiyar where her father Dr TR Sheshagiri Rao was a medical officer in an estate.
Gautami was expected to be a BJP candidate from the Rajapalayam assembly constituency in Tamil Nadu. The seat ultimately went to ally AIADMK.
Gautami carries herself in style. She does not want to be seen complaining about a seat. The actor-turned-politician talked to Onmanorama in her book-laden office at Kottivakkam in Chennai.
You are known as an intellectual. Why the BJP?
Why did I join the BJP? That is a decision I took 23 years ago. It did not happen overnight. I was impressed by the leadership of Atal Behari Vajpayee and Narendra Modi. They led the county on the right path. They protected the country in this hour of crisis.
Do you see any future with the BJP in the land of the Dravida parties?
I did not join the party for any rewards. If I were after posts, I could have done it earlier. There is nothing to bar others from joining politics just because there are Dravida parties. This question arises only when the aim is a position.
Then you could have joined Kamal Haasan’s Makkal Needhi Maiam. They are standing for change.
That is what they say. People are not saying that. Only the election result will tell us if the people wanted change. All new parties devise marketing strategies to attract the people. That is what Kamal Haasan’s party is also doing.
Do you think Kamal Haasan’s party would cut into the votes of the DMK?
Some people say that. I do not know. I am only happy if he manages to split votes to benefit the BJP and the AIADMK.
Were your differences with Kamal Haasan political?
That is a closed chapter. I do not want to talk about it.
How do you compare Tamil Nadu politics with that of Kerala?
Politics in Tamil Nadu and Kerala are not comparable. We have analysed why different places nurture different political parties.