December 14, 2018

Tamil Nadu Assembly Speaker unveils Jayalalithaa's portrait; DMK, Congress boycott

12 February 2018, 11:30 | Devin Moran

Tamilisai, Vijayadharani welcome inauguration of Jaya's portrait in Assembly

Tamilisai Vijayadharani welcome inauguration of Jaya’s portrait in Assembly

The portrait, which was unveiled in the presence of Chief Minister E Palaniswami and deputy CM O Panneerselvam, occupied a prominent position in the Assembly and was placed at a distance from the other 10 portraits of former CMs and Tamil Nadu icons, including CN Annadurai and MG Ramachandran.

Unfazed, the AIADMK had an array of speakers headed by chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami to remember Jayalalithaa's welfare schemes.

The opposition parties on Sunday decried the move to unveil the portrait of former Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa in the Tamil Nadu Assembly with the PMK even threatening to move the court, while BJP supported the move, saying Jayalalithaa deserved the honour since she had been CM six times.

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.

In this evolving scenario, the big question is, "Will you oppose Jayalalithaa's portrait in Tamil Nadu Assembly?" Under any neutral parameters, unveiling a portrait of a person who had been convicted by the Supreme Court seems to be against law.

Contending that Jayalalithaa was the prime accused in the disproportionate assets case in which the Supreme Court convicted all the accused (after her death), DMK working president M.K. Stalin said it would set a bad precedent as she was convicted in the case.

Assembly Speaker P. Dhanapal has no right or powers to unveil the portrait of a person convicted in a corruption case, he charged.

Mr Palaniswami also said steps were on to erect a grand memorial for her.

The seven feet tall portrait shows Jayalalithaa in her trademark green sari, staring down at the Opposition benches.

Jayalalithaa who passed away in December 2016 was posthumously convicted in the Disproportionate Assets case against her, along with close aide Sasikala in February 2017.

Several other leaders including Tamil Nadu Congress Committee president Su Thirunavukkarasar, CPI (M) State secretary G Ramakrishnan and DMDK leader Vijayakant have opposed the move.

While the state Congress unit joined in the boycott of the event announced by the DMK - the national party is in an alliance with MK Stalin's DMK - the BJP took a more disapassionate view of the idea.

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