Friday, 10 October 2014

At Fort St George, Jayalalithaa is still the CM

CHENNAI: A day after DMK chief M Karunanidhi sounded the bugle and set the stage for Thursday's missive setting a 24-hour deadline for the removal of J Jayalalithaa's photos from government offices, top officials in the secretariat said they were aware of the protocol and this subject will come up soon for discussion.

Some officials don't want to be seen as taking the initiative in removing the photographs. "If we remove her photograph, our loyalty will be questioned," said an official who added they were waiting for directions from chief secretary Mohan Varghese Chunkath. With just two more months to go for the year to end, government calendars may continue to sport Jayalalithaa's picture, a senior official said.

Officials also said the question of the Amma brand will also have to be dealt with. Chennai mayor Saidai Duraisamy, however, refused to comment on Amma canteens. Highly placed sources in the corporation said they are awaiting directions from the government.

But until that happens, Jayalalithaa will remain the symbolic chief minister, at least in the secretariat. From holding a gazetted copy of the final award of the Cauvery water disputes tribunal to distributing welfare schemes to beneficiaries, her photographs are all over the display board at the main building of Fort St George. "Oh, she is still here," S Ramachandran of Madipakkam, a visitor to Secretariat, said in hushed tones.

On Thursday, DMK announced that it would be constrained to approach the courts, if the government failed to act within a day against the display. In a petition to the chief secretary, department secretaries, director general of police, transport corporations and municipal corporations, MLA J Anbazhagan said the departments should not violate the law. Even her images are prominent in canteens, water bottles, salt and tea named after brand Amma, he said. "Once Jayalalithaa has been convicted by a competent court and she has obtained the status of a convict, it is quite strange that they are still showing her as the chief minister," Anbazhagan said. Karunanidhi,J Jayalalithaa,DMK chief

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