Chennai: Months ahead of the Tamil Nadu Assembly elections, the ruling AIADMK on Wednesday sought to cash in on the political legacy of J Jayalalithaa by unveiling a mausoleum for her on the Marina beach front in Chennai.
Thousands of AIADMK cadres, throwing COVID-19 safety protocol to the winds, milled their way into the memorial within hours of it being inaugurated by Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami. The memorial is situated alongside the MGR memorial and those of DMK founder C N Annadurai and his successor M Karunanidhi. Many AIADMK cadres were seen visiting Karunanidhi’s burial place as well prompting Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar to declare that they were not true followers of Jayalalithaa.
Making a political point, Palaniswami attacked DMK president M K Stalin saying he had tried to obstruct construction of the memorial for Jayalalithaa by getting people to move the court against it. These cases were withdrawn overnight when the DMK had moved the Madras High Court seeking that party patriarch Karunanidhi’s body be laid to rest next to the Anna Memorial, he said.
Stalin, however, hit back saying a memorial was constructed for someone who was convicted by the courts in corruption cases and unseated from the post of Chief Minister.
Meanwhile, in a related development, the Madras High Court has imposed restrictions on the State Government’s plan to unveil Jayalalithaa’s imposing Veda Nilayam bungalow in Chennai’s posh Poes Garden locality as a memorial.
Though the court refused to restrain the State from inaugurating the bungalow as memorial, it said public cannot be allowed inside. Only the main gates can be opened and the function could be held only in the lawns. No one should enter the building, Justice N Seshasayee said after it was made known that the inventory of articles in the late leader’s bungalow was not taken in the presence of her legal heirs Deepa and Deepak [Jayalalithaa’s niece and nephew]. After the inaugural function, the keys to the bungalow must be handed over the High Court Registrar General until further orders.