Jayalalithaa's portrait unveiled in TN Assembly, DMK moves court for its removal

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The portrait was unveiled at the state assembly by Speaker P Dhanapal.

Chennai: A political controversy has broken out in Tamil Nadu over the AIADMK's Government's hurried move to unveil a portrait of late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa in the Legislative Assembly Hall on Monday.

The DMK even boycotted the entire event stating that the former chief minister had been convicted in a disproportionate assets case after her death and therefore she is not eligible for such honour.

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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. Jayalalithaa died in December 2016 while she was still CM and was out on bail in a corruption case. The apex court in its verdict on 14 February, 2017 clearly held that Jayalalithaa and Sasikala criminally conspired at Poes Garden to launder ill-gotten wealth.

Referring to Jayalalithaa who was the first accused (A1) in the case, the court observed, "However, though in the process of scrutiny of the facts and the law involved and the inextricable nexus of A1 with A2 to A4, reference to her role as well as the evidence pertaining to her had been made, she having expired meanwhile, the appeals, so far as those relate to her, stand abated".

The portrait 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.

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Ms Jayalalithaa's portrait was the 11th leader to adorn the walls of the Assembly. The party's leaders have been known to take their unswerving devotion to the former Chief Minister - or "Amma" - to unusual extremes. She is a mass leader and there is nothing wrong in honouring her.

DMK petitions Speaker: DMK legislator J. Anbazhagan who petitioned the Assembly secretariat against the move said Jayalalithaa's portrait in the Assembly hall would be a mockery of democracy, as she was a convict in a corruption case.

In such circumstances, the DMK has already filed a plea in the high court seeking removal of photos and the name of Jayalalithaa displayed and mentioned in government offices, buildings, public sector undertakings and government schemes by the state government that is still pending in court, the petitioner submitted.

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