February 12, 2018
Chennai: Brushing aside opposition criticism of “honouring a convicted person”, Tamil Nadu Assembly speaker P Dhanpal on Monday unveiled a giant portrait of former chief minister J Jayalalithaa in the presence of the whos who of the ruling AIADMK.
The opposition, led by the DMK, boycotted the event saying that morally it was wrong to honour a convicted person in the assembly hall, where the leading lights of Tamil Nadu find a place. Jayalalithaa is the only woman in the 11 leaders thus honoured so far.Opposition DMK Congress and IUML, boycotted the ceremony.
DMK working president MK Stalin said that “had she been alive, she would have been in jail. We think it is a wrong thing to do.” Similar statements came from almost all the opposition leaders including DMDK leader Captain Vijayakanth.
In the seven feet tall portrait done in oils, Jayalalithaa is draped in her trademark green saree, hands folded. The positioning of the portrait is such that she is staring down at the opposition leader’s bench in the assembly.
Stalin said, the government should not denigrate the rich heritage and prestige of the assembly by putting up a convict’s picture in the assembly halls.
DMK senior leader Anbazhagan moved a petition in the Madras High Court seeking the removal of the portrait from the assembly hall. The petition is likely to come up for hearing tomorrow.Among the other notable absentees was rebel AIADMK leader TTV Dhinakaran.
Jayalalithaa’s portrait is in the august company of paintings of Mahatma Gandhi, Periyar EV Ramasamy, CN Annadurai, K Kamaraj, Thiruvalluvar, BR Ambedkar, Muthuramalinga Thevar, C Rajagopalachari, Quaide Millath and her mentor MG Ramachandran.