Chennai, Feb 12: More than a year after her death, the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) once again honoured late Jayalalithaa by unveiling her portrait inside the Tamil Nadu Assembly on Monday.
The former chief minister died after undergoing long treatment at a Chennai hospital on December 5, 2016. Jayalalithaa's portrait was unveiled at TN Assembly by speaker Dhanapal.
Her portrait is the 11th one after Mahatma Gandhi, Periyar EV Ramasamy, CN Annadurai, K Kamraj, Thiruvalluvar, BR Ambedkar, Muthuramalinga Thevar, C Rajagopalachari, Quaide Millath and MG Ramachandran to have found a prominent place inside the massive Assembly building.
While it was a momentous occasion for her fans and supporters, opposition parties, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and the Congress, protested against putting up Jayalalithaa's portrait along with other political, social and literary stalwarts of the country inside the state Assembly building.
Both the DMK and the Congress boycotted the Monday event of unveiling of Amma's (as Jayalalithaa was popularly known among her fans) portrait inside the TN Assembly.
The portrait of the former CM in the Assembly is a "disgrace" as she was convicted of corruption, stated the DMK. CM E Palaniswami, his deputy O Panneerselvam, other AIADMK leaders, police and officials were present during the event in the Assembly. In fact, Palaniswami wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi last year to invite him to grace the Monday's occasion. According to reports, the Prime Minister's Office never replied to the CM's letter.
Although Jayalalithaa, who was a former film star, was considered to be one of the most influential and powerful politicians from Tamil Nadu, her various tenures as the CM of the state were tainted by corruption charges.
In February 2017, just two months after her death, the Supreme Court indicted Jayalalithaa and others in the disproportionate assets case.
"Jayalalithaa's portrait will add to the assembly's prestige," said a leader of the AIADMK.
On Sunday, DMK working president MK Stalin said it (unveiling of Jayalalithaa's portrait inside the TN Assembly) would set a bad precedent as she was convicted in the case. Stalin told journalists that unveiling a portrait of a person who had been convicted by the Supreme Court was against the law.
"It is a black move and I condemn it on behalf of the DMK. 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. Since the case will be taken up for hearing, the government has organised the event in a hurried manner before 9.30 am," he alleged.