I'm the true MGR heir, none else: Jayalalithaa

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Chennai, Jan 17: Taking a dig at those who claim the legacy of late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M G Ramachandran (MGR), AIADMK General Secretary J Jayalalithaa today declared that she was the true heir of MGR and no one else could be the claimant. Speaking at a function on the occasion of MGR's 91st birth anniversary at Ramavaram Gardens, where MGR lived, Ms Jayalalithaa said ''I am the true heir of MGR. We are running the AIADMK founded by him and I am the General Secretary. No one else can claim the legacy of MGR.''

In an obvious reference to actor-politicians Vijayakanth, whose supporters call him as 'Black MGR' and R Sarath Kumar, who also claim the legacy of MGR, Ms Jayalalithaa, taking a swipe at them, said ''if somebody else claims to be the successor of MGR's political legacy, people will laugh at them and give them a fitting reply in the elections.'' She said ''some people are blabbering (claiming the legacy of MGR) as it appeared that the level of bile has gone up. Time will come when they are cleared of the bile.'' Ms Jayalalithaa's assertion on MGR legacy assumed significance as both Mr Vijayakanth's Dravida Munnetra Desiya Kazhagam (DMDK) and Sarath Kumar's All India Samathuva Makkal Katchi (AISMK) were vying with each other, in invoking the legacy of MGR to achieve political mileage in the state.

When MGR's death anniversary was observed on December 24, supporters of AIADMK and DMDK clashed with each other in Madurai, on the question of who should garland the statue of MGR first.

Police resorted to lathicharge and restored order.

Today also, both the leaders paid floral tributes to MGR on the occasion of his birth anniversary with hundreds of his supporters, in a bid to gain the sympathy of MGR fans and strengthen his vote bank.

Ms Jayalalithaa further criticised Mr Vijayakanth, saying there could not be instant leaders. ''We have instant coffee.. We can make instant coffee but not instant leaders. We cannot produce leaders,'' she said. She said MGR rose through the ranks and had made outstanding contributions for the growth of the DMK, before he launched the AIADMK party and rose as a leader.

The late leader had even spent the money he had earned while acting in films, for the growth of the DMK, she said adding that besides helping the DMK to grow, MGR had also helped late C N Annadurai to become the Chief Minister.

Dismissing as wrong reports in a section of the press that she was visiting Ramavaram Gardens after a gap of 20 years, Ms Jayalalithaa said when she was the Chief Minister, she had visited the Gardens in 1995 to call on Ms Janaki Ramachandran and again in 1996 when she died.

In an apparent reference to criticism that she chose to visit the Gardens only to keep the MGR loyalists in good humour as the party had weakened, she said ''This is our house. We have all the right to come at any time we feel like. There is no need for others to express any opinion (on her visiting the Gardens).'' Ms Jayalalithaa said Dr MGR Home and Higher Secondary School for Speech and Hearing Impaired, invited her to distribute prizes to the students. Some of the family members of MGR also insisted that she should visit the Gardens, she said.

Commending Ms Latha Rajendran, one of the adopted daughters of MGR for successfuly running the School for Speech and Hearing Impaired as per the will of the late leader, Ms Jayalalithaa said MGR always liked children and wanted to help them. When he introduced the noon-meal scheme for school children, leaders of Opposition parties derided him for making children to go to school with begging bowl. But, now the scheme was so successful that the Supreme Court had directed all states to implement the noon meal scheme, Ms Jayalalithaa said.

Earlier, Ms Jayalalithaa hoisted party flag in front of the Gardens and spent time with some of the MGR family members, including some of MGR's adopted daughters.

At the party headquarters, she inaugurated a health camp and distributed medical aids to ailing party activists and others.

The birth anniversary was marked by day-long celebrations not only by the AIADMK but also by the members of the BJP, DMDK and AISMK.

Elsewhere in the state, people after garlanding MGR statue, kept his portrait in a decorated makeshift dias and offered worship.

MGR's popular hits rent the air in most parts of the state.

On behalf of the State Government, Local Administration Minister M K Stalin and other ministers garlanded the statue of MGR at Dr MGR Medical University campus.

Meanwhile, Mr Sarath Kumar, after celebrating MGR birth anniversary at his party office, said Ms Jayalalithaa had rushed to the Ramavaram Gardens after a long gap as she was in jittery over the weakening of the party.

UNI

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