Unveiling of Jaya portrait irks Oppn

J Jayalalithaa

The affair of unveiling a portrait of former Tamil Nadu chief Minister J Jayalalithaa inside the state Assembly split the political spectrum along lines of propriety, with the ruling AIADMK faction hailing the leader as a "powerful figure in politics", and arch-rival DMK condemning it for celebrating someone convicted of amassing wealth beyond known sources of income.

With the DMK, Congress and Indian Union Muslim League boycotting the function, members of the ruling AIADMK, the party founded by Jayalalithaa, occupied the Opposition benches.

On Saturday, the State government said the late CM's portrait would be unveiled in the Assembly on Monday by Assembly Speaker P. Dhanapal.

DMK working president MK Stalin termed Monday as a "black day" in the history of the Assembly, and tweeted, "This move has brought down the dignity and sanctity of the House". In fact, Palaniswami wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi previous year to invite him to grace the Monday's occasion. Already, a petition filed by our party MLA J Anbazhagan against keeping the portrait of Jayalalithaa [in the Assembly] is pending before the Madras High Court. "As the case will be taken up for hearing, the government has organised the event in a hurried manner before 9.30 am", he said. However, with no reply forthcoming, the CM made a decision to preside over the function himself on Monday.

Jayalalithaa's death in 2016, before the Supreme Court upheld the conviction, resulted in the charges against her being abated.

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Observing that Ms Jayalalithaa has grabbed the world's attention and has created historyin this historic Assembly, he said he felt as if she was personally blessing the occasion.

Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami had earlier defended the move stating that unveiling a portrait of Jayalalithaa would be a great honour for the state assembly since the late leader was committed to the development of people's welfare in addition to being elected as CM six times.

He also said Ms Jayalalithaa had fought for the rights of the women and restored the state's rights in the Cauvery river water issue.

DMDK chief Vijayakanth has also opposed the move along with Tamil Nadu Congress Committee (TNCC) chief S Thirunavukkarasar. Under any neutral parameters, unveiling a portrait of a person who had been convicted by the Supreme Court seems to be against law.

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