Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Monday laid the foundation stone of a Rs 50-crore memorial for former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa at Marina Beach in Chennai, IANS reported. Opposition leaders were opposed to a yagna, or religious fire ceremony, held at the site and also criticised the memorial, citing corruption charges against Jayalalithaa.
Palaniswami placed the first brick for the construction of the memorial, followed by his deputy O Panneerselvam, PTI reported. Leaders and workers of the state’s ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, including MPs and MLAs, attended the ceremony.
Jayalalithaa died in December 2016. The proposed memorial will be shaped like a phoenix and will have a museum and a knowledge park. Palaniswami said the memorial would be completed in a year’s time.
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader MK Stalin called Jayalalithaa the “accused number one in a disproportionate assets case”, and said building a memorial for such a person is against democracy. The Supreme Court had stopped proceedings against Jayalalithaa in the case in February 2017 as she had died, but convicted her close aide VK Sasikala.
The opposition party also said such an event “violates the secular culture of the state”, NDTV reported. “Their party can have a private yagna, but it can’t be part of a government function,” DMK spokesperson A Saravanan said. “This is yet another attempt by the ruling AIADMK to appease and prove their loyalty to the BJP.”