Over a year after former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa was laid to rest at Marina Beach in Chennai, next to the memorial of her mentor MGR, the foundation stone laying ceremony for Amma memorial was held this morning. Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and his deputy O Panneerselvam attended the yagna organised at her burial site to kick-start the construction.
The opposition DMK in Tamil Nadu, however, objected to the religious ceremony organised by the government saying that such an event “violates the secular culture of the state”.
“This has never happened. Their party can have a private yagna, but it can’t be part of a government function. This is yet another attempt by the ruling AIADMK to appease and prove their loyalty to the BJP,” DMK spokesperson A Saravanan said.
A senior minister who didn’t wish to be named said that it should be seen as a private event. “The yagna was held before the foundation laying ceremony. Even though the yagna was mentioned as a government programme it should be seen as the party’s event.”
The design released by the government for the Rs. 50-crore memorial reflects a phoenix. It was selected from a list of entries received as part of a competition. The coastal regulation act prohibits erection of fresh memorials along the Marina Beach. Hence, the existing MGR memorial was chosen to bury Jayalalithaa and for the new structure to circumvent restrictions.