Amid stiff opposition, a seven-foot long portrait of the late CM J Jayalalithaa was unveiled by Speaker P Dhanapal in the Legislative Assembly on Monday.CM Edappadi K Palanisamy Chennai: The portrait, done by R Mathiazhagan, former principal of Government Arts College, along with his brother Tamilvanan, as an oil painting over a period of 3 months, is the lone portrait of a woman and eleventh one to be featured among other leaders in the House.
The portrait’s caption read ‘peace, prosperity and progress.’ Portraits of saint-poet Tiruvalluvar, leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, BR Ambedkar, Periyar, Quaid-e-Milleth and Muthuramalinga Thevar, former CMs K Kamaraj, C Rajagopalachari, CN Annadurai, and MG Ramachandran, are those of the others adorning the House.
While the event was boycotted by the Principal Opposition DMK and its allies Congress and IUML, their seats except the seat of the Leader of Opposition MK Stalin were occupied by AIADMK parliamentarians and functionaries.
Congress legislator S Vijayadharani, who did not attend the function, later met the Speaker at his chamber and thanked him for unveiling a woman’s portrait.
She also met the Deputy Speaker Pollachi V Jayaraman and Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, in this regard. The unveiling was marked by the songs of the ruling AIADMK and sloganeering hailing Jaya, and list of speakers singing paeans to the deceased former AIADMK supremo. CM Edappadi K Palaniswami recalled as to how she scripted history by winning 37 of 39 Lok Sabha seats in 2014 and making the party emerge as the third largest party in the Parliament.
Though Prime Minister Narendra Modi had refused to give dates for unveiling Jaya’s portrait, the CM recalled Modi’s remarks on Jaya when he came down to pay his last respects to her. He quoted Modi saying, “Jayalalithaa ji’s connect with citizens, concern for welfare of the poor, the women and marginalised will always be a source of inspiration.”
He listed out her role in getting the final award of Cauvery Tribunal notified in the Central Gazette and securing orders to increase the storage level of Mullaiperiyar dam to 142 ft, among others, as achievements, while reaffirming that her regime would continue and her Poes Garden residence would cater her legacy to the posterity.
Panneerselvam reiterated that they had destroyed the predictions of the government falling under its own weight besides saving it from a ‘group,’ and that the regime would continue. He also noted that this regime would present the future budgets as well.