Unveiling of Jaya portrait irks Oppn

DMK opposes Jayalalithaa's portrait unweiling

The portrait's unveiling finally took place today, with Chief Minister E Palaniswami, his deputy O Panneerselvam and other AIADMK leaders folding their hands before the image as a past speech of Jayalalithaa in the assembly was played out.

Chennai: Tamil Nadu Assembly Speaker P. Dhanapal on Monday unveiled the portrait of late former Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa in the Assembly while major opposition parties boycotted the function saying such an honour should not be given to a convicted person. Despite opposition from DMK and other parties, Speaker has gone ahead and allowed this to happen.

Though mistakes might have been committed by leaders whose portraits are displayed in the House, they were not convicted in any case, he pointed out. However, Congress party whip Vijayadharni was present at the event.

Lovingly referred as "Amma" by her supporters, Jayalalithaa passed away on December 5, 2016, after suffering from prolonged illness.

He alleged the government hurriedly organised the event on Monday morning, before the PIL filed by his party's MLA J Anbazhagan seeking to remove Jayalalithaa's portraits from government offices came up for hearing that day. "We urge the Tamil Nadu government to give up this step". The apex court in its verdict on 14 February, 2017 clearly held that Jayalalithaa and Sasikala criminally conspired at Poes Garden to launder ill-gotten wealth. The 1996 case involving charges that she had amassed a fortune far more than her known sources of income ended after her death.

While there appears to be no illegality to it, the move to unveil a portrait of Jayalalithaa has divided the political class in the state over the morality of it and the precedence it would set. Therefore the decision of the incumbent AIADMK government to unveil a portrait of its late leader and former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa in the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly hall simply sounds very bad in law.

He had also said that she was regarded as a role model by the chief ministers of other states.

Jayalalithaa now joins Mahatma Gandhi, Periyar EV Ramasamy, CN Annadurai, K Kamaraj, Thiruvalluvar, BR Ambedkar, Muthuramalinga Thevar, C Rajagopalachari, Quaide Millath and her mentor MG Ramachandran as the first woman on the walls of the assembly.