TN govt declines AIADMK plea to maintain Jayalalithaa statue

The Tamil Nadu government has declined a plea by the opposition AIADMK seeking permission to undertake the maintenance of the statue of late Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa. The government contended that handing over the maintenance of statues to private individuals or organisations was not in practice.

AIADMK coordinator and former Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam had petitioned the Tamil Nadu higher education department to allow the party to maintain the statue of Jayalalithaa at the Tamil Nadu State Council of Higher Education campus.

However, the state Higher Education Minister K. Ponmudi in a statement on Thursday said the statue would be maintained by the government of Tamil Nadu.

The state Public works department (PWD) that is maintaining the statue said that handing over the maintenance of statues to private individuals and organisations was not in practice in Tamil Nadu.

The state higher education minister in the statement said that it has been the usual practice in the state of Tamil Nadu to maintain the statute by the Public Works Department. He also said that floral tributes would be paid to the statues of state and national leaders and freedom fighters on their birthdays and death anniversary and added that it would continue in the case of former Chief Minister, J. Jayalalithaa also.

After the DMK government assumed office, there has been a situation wherein it included AIADMK leader and former health minister C. Vijayabaskar in the committee constituted by the Chief Minister to manage Covid-19. This was widely reported by the media on the growing politics of consensus between the two Dravidian parties as in the past such a culture was not prevalent in Tamil Nadu.

However, of late politics of confrontation between the two has commenced with the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-corruption bureau conducting back to back raids on the premises of former ministers of the AIADMK M.R .Vijayabhaskar, C. Vijayabaskar, S.P. Velumani and K.C. Veeramani.

The denial of maintenance of the statue of Jayalalithaa to AIADMK will now be made out as another act of political vendetta by the DMK government. Social observers and political analysts said that this has been the practice in Tamil Nadu regarding the maintenance of statues of public leaders at government premises.

Dr. Uma Maheswari, professor of political science at a private college in Chennai and a social observer while speaking to IANS said, “Politics of hate and vindictiveness has been the forte of Dravidian politics in this part of the world. However, maintaining statues of public personalities at government premises is the duty of the state government and the DMK government had just continued the practice. This was an unnecessary appeal by the AIADMK leadership knowing fully well that the government PWD department was maintaining statues of public personalities at government properties.”