Removing Jaya’s portraits will not remove her from people’s hearts: OPS

Chennai: Rebel AIADMK leader and former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam today lashed out DMK Working President M K Stalin for demanding the removal of portraits of late party supremo Jayalalithaa from government offices, saying it smacked of political indecency.

In a hard-hitting statement, he said Jayalalithaa was loved by people for her pro-people welfare measures and they would be outraged if any attempt was made to remove her portraits from government offices.

Removal of her portraits would not remove her from people’s hearts, he added.

Panneerselvam’s response came hours after Stalin, also the Leader of the Opposition in the state Assembly, met Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary Girija Vaidyanathan and submitted a plea seeking removal of portraits of Jayalalithaa.

Stalin said since Jayalalithaa had been convicted in the disproportionate assets case, her portraits should not be kept in government offices and local body establishments among others.

Hitting out at Stalin, Panneerselvam said people had repeatedly rejected DMK (in polls) and asked him to do something “worthwhile for the people”.

Listing out the various pro-people initiatives launched by the late chief minister, he said Jayalalithaa was a popular leader who always remained in the hearts of the people.

“The women of Tamil Nadu will be outraged if there are attempts to remove the portraits of Amma. People will not forgive you. Stalin should not indulge in such useless activities and instead come forward to do some worthwhile work for the people. But he will not do anything for the people,”

Panneerselvam said.

He accused Stalin of continuing with the ‘indecent remarks’ used to be made by his father and DMK chief M Karunanidhi in the past.

“People have thrown them (DMK) out for lacking integrity. It is unfortunate that they are making such statements with political vendetta against Amma who did not live for her but for the people.

“In the past, DMK had made indecent comments against leaders such as K Kamaraj, Indira Gandhi, C Rajagopalachari and M G Ramachandran whose memories are still etched in the hearts of people,” he said.

Referring to the electoral victories of Jayalalithaa, including consecutive win in the assembly elections in 2016,

Panneerselvam said people had time and again told the DMK that they were “unfit to rule the state”.

He said Stalin was coming up with such demands because he could not digest the ‘ever growing’ popularity of Jayalalithaa.

“If there are attempts to remove her portraits, the people of Tamil Nadu and AIADMK supporters will create a situation where there will be no place without a portrait of Amma,” he said in an apparent hint that AIADMK will continue to sweep elections at all levels.