The AIADMK maintained that it did not take part in the event on August 2 as the DMK had not taken part in the one held in 2018 to unveil a portrait of the late Chief Minister and former party supremo J Jayalalithaa in the Assembly, Water Resources Minister Duraimurugan said on Tuesday. There could be no comparison between the two events, Duraimurugan, also a senior DMK leader indicated, saying the AIADMK did not even request the DMK, the then main opposition party, to take part in that event and had merely dispatched invitations.
"They did not even ask us to take part in that function. They had sent invitations to the DMK just like they did it for all and sundry," he told reporters.
"The DMK had not participated in the Jayalalithaa portrait unveiling event as the party was not shown proper respect," the Minister said. "The DMK government led by Chief Minister M K Stalin however invited the Leader of the Opposition K Palaniswami with due respect, he said. As advised by Stalin, though he spoke over the phone to Palaniswami and requested him to take part in the event, the AIADMK top leader conveyed to the Assembly secretary that his party would not participate in the function," he said.
The senior Minister said, "he conveyed to Palaniswami that his seat would be on the dais and in the same row that dignitaries President Ram Nath Kovind, Governor Banwarilal Purohit and CM Stalin shall occupy. Duraimurugan said he requested Palaniswami to also deliver an address on the occasion. Unlike the AIADMK regime, the DMK government extended due courtesy to the main opposition party," he added.
"It is their (AIADMK) choice whether to participate in the event or not. But Chief Minister Stalin wanted the function to be held with the cooperation and participation of the Opposition," he said and reiterated that he requested Palaniswami to take part in the function.
On Monday, an event was held in the Tamil Nadu Assembly to mark the centenary of the Madras Legislative Council and to unveil a portrait of late Chief Minister M Karunanidhi. President Ram Nath Kovind, Governor Banwarilal Purohit, Chief Minister Stalin and Madras High Court Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee participated.
According to the state government, the Madras Legislative Council, established in 1921 in the British era, was the first elected body of the then Madras Presidency. The council's term was for three years and it had 132 members, of which 34 were nominated by the Governor and the rest were elected. It met for the first time on January 9, 1921, at Fort St. George in Chennai, then known as Madras. The council was inaugurated by the Duke of Connaught, a paternal uncle of the King of England, on January 12, 1921 on the request made by the then Governor Lord Wellington. The Governor addressed the Council on February 14, 1921.
The crux of the AIADMK's argument, which accused the DMK of "twisting history" to organise an event to unveil the late leader's portrait, is that the first Assembly was constituted in 1952 following polls in independent India and its previous government had in 2012 commemorated its 60th anniversary.
In an article in its organ "Namadhu Puratchi Thalaivi Amma," the AIADMK said it did not oppose unveiling a portrait of DMK patriarch and former Chief Minister Karunanidhi in the Assembly, but was against "twisting history." Officially the AIADMK had not said that it boycotted the event as DMK had not taken part in a function to unveil a portrait of Jayalalithaa years ago, but this was also a reason doing the rounds in party circles, besides the official "twisting" accusation.
On BJP Tamil Nadu unit chief K Annamalai taking part in the event, Duraimurugan said he welcomed it.