Subramanian Swamy on Tuesday paid a tribute to his political rival Jayalalithaa, but ended up eulogising himself as he discussed his dealings with the former Tamil Nadu chief minister who died in a Chennai hospital on Monday.

“Jayalalithaa had a huge admiration for my scholarship. She respected my knowledge and my abilities. She really admired me,” Swamy, a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) parliamentarian, was quoted as saying by a media outlet.

Swamy alleged in the interview that Jayalalithaa had wanted her to be the President of India, but he himself didn’t think he was winnable enough a candidate.

Swamy alleged in the interview that Jayalalithaa had wanted her to be the President of India, but he himself didn’t think he was winnable enough a candidate.

“She wanted me to become the President of India. I declined her (Amma) offer telling her that I had a teaching assignment at Harvard University. I was also not sure about my winning chances. Because many political leaders were afraid of me”

The two politicians had a rocky relationship as Swamy pressed corruption charges against the former chief minister, for which she was acquitted by the court in 2015.  Swamy had then vowed to lodge an appeal in Supreme Court, despite many in his own party reportedly urging him not to do so.

Swamy conceded that Jayalalithaa had shown some political potential when she was first elected to the Parliament in 1984, saying that her company had “evil” influence.

“In the second half of 1980s, both of us were in Parliament as Members of the Rajya Sabha. She made one or two good speeches in the House,”

Swamy reportedly said. He blamed Jayalalithaa’s close aide Sasikala for ruining their friendship.

“We broke up several times because of Sasikala who tried to blame me. She was an evil influence over Jayalalithaa all through her political career. Again in 2007, Jayalalithaa approached me,” Mr Swamy reportedly said.