The row over the allocation of burial space for late DMK chief M Karunanidhi continued with the opposition party on Thursday accusing the government of denying land on the Marina beachfront due to ‘vendetta’, a charge dismissed as ‘baseless’ by the ruling AIADMK.
DMK working president MK Stalin said in a letter to party men that the request for burial space was made in line with Karunanidhi’s desire to be laid to rest next to his mentor and party founder C N Annadurai.
“We made a due request for land at Marina. We insisted in person (with chief minister K Palaniswami) also. But the treacherous AIADMK government denied space due to vendetta and the conspiracy of those controlling them,” Stalin said in the letter.
He said the party took the matter to court securing a favourable verdict, following which the 94-year-old leader was laid to rest yesterday.
Stalin described the verdict as “final gift” to Karunanidhi.
Taking strong exception to Stalin’s statement, AIADMK leader D Jayakumar listed the government’s steps to ensure “a respectable” farewell, even as he blamed “legal tangles” for the government turning down DMK’s plea.
Crediting AIADMK founder late M G Ramachandran for Karunanidhi’s ascension to the chief minister’s post after the death of incumbent C N Annadurai in 1969, Jayakumar took exception to the “baseless charges.”
Soon after the death of the DMK stalwart, the government declared a holiday, permitted the body to lay in state at the Rajaji Hall, provided adequate police security throughout and secured central approval for flying the Indian tri-colour half-mast and ensuring state honours for the departed leader.
Referring to the batch of cases that were filed against the construction of memorials on Marina, he said those were filed only by people who wanted to “remove the Jayalalithaa memorial there.”
“Due to the legal tangles following five pending court cases and that they should not create last-minute hurdles, the government came forward to offer space near the memorials of former chief ministers C Rajagopalachari and K Kamaraj. Where is the vendetta here,” the state Fisheries minister said in a party statement.
Citing the DMK’s “opposition” to the construction of a Jayalalithaa memorial on the Marina as well as to that of installing her portrait in the state Assembly, he asked if they “have conscience.”
Jayakumar alleged that when Karunanidhi was the chief minister he had turned down pleas for construction of memorials for former chief ministers Kamaraj and V N Janaki at the Marina, saying they were not serving CMs at the time of their death.
Charging the DMK with “insulting” Jayalalithaa and causing mental agony to her when she was alive by filing a slew of cases and putting her behind bars, Jayakumar said the opposition party will not ‘understand’ the AIADMK government’s genuine intentions.
“But Tamil society watching all this will understand it,” he said.