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DMK moves Madras HC against Jayalalithaa's portrait in state Assembly

12 February 2018

The affair of unveiling a portrait of former Tamil Nadu chief Minister J Jayalalithaa inside the state Assembly split the political spectrum along lines of propriety, with the ruling AIADMK faction hailing the leader as a "powerful figure in politics", and arch-rival DMK condemning it for celebrating someone convicted of amassing wealth beyond known sources of income.

The portrait of the former CM in the Assembly is a "disgrace" as she was convicted of corruption, stated the DMK.

Opposing the unveiling of the portrait, the DMK even boycotted the event.

The DMK moved a petition Monday morning seeking directions from the court to the Speaker to remove the portrait, similar in grounds of an earlier petition that sought removal of Jayalalithaa's pictures in the welfare schemes in view of her being an accused in the disproportionate assets case. It will be an insult to the Speaker, who expunges remarks that were not allowed in the House if he unveils the portrait of a person convicted in a corruption case, Mr Stalin added.

The seven feet tall portrait shows Jayalalithaa in her trademark green sari, staring down at the Opposition benches. Already, a petition filed by our party MLA J Anbazhagan against keeping the portrait of Jayalalithaa is pending before the court. As far as I am concerned, there is nothing wrong in this and I have no objection.

The Supreme Court, however, abated the case against Jayalalithaa on account of her death.

There is nothing illegal in installing the portrait in the assembly but the opposition says it is morally wrong to "honour" a convict. He called upon the government to drop the idea at once and said his party would appr-oach the court to stop initiative, if necessary.

The portrait stands alone and high in the assembly gallery, at a distance from the 10 other images of chief ministers and Tamil Nadu icons.

In this unique context of apparent crime and ultimate conviction, any undue glorifying of a convicted person (case abated just because she had died) will only set a very bad precedent as the late chief minister was convicted in the case.

The portrait of former Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalithaa was unveiled in the state assembly by Speaker P Dhanapal on Monday.

Welcoming the move, BJP state president Dr Tamilisai Soundararajan said, her portrait can be unveiled in the Assembly on the basis that she was elected six times as the CM of Tamil Nadu.

DMK moves Madras HC against Jayalalithaa's portrait in state Assembly