It is one of the prominent features of the Government Botanical Garden

The JJ Pillar, one of the prominent features of the Government Botanical Garden (GBG) and located at the head of the main lawn, was the focus of an election-related protest on Saturday.

A group of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) members, led by former Coonoor MLA and the current district secretary K. Ramachandran, alleged that the letters “JJ” on the pillar stood for J. Jayalalithaa and hence it should be removed.

Allowing the letters to be displayed amounted to a campaign and thereby violation of the Model Code of Conduct now in force for the Lok Sabha elections.

Mr. Ramachandran and others sat in protest in front of the pillar insisting that it be removed from a place where it would be noticed by thousands of tourists who came from different parts of the country.

Contending that as soon as the code came into force, the DMK had initiated steps to remove flags, hoardings and symbols related to the party, he alleged the ruling AIADMK had not done so.

The protesters left after officials in charge of the garden covered the pillar. District Election Officer and the Nilgiris Collector P. Sankar told The Hindu that the matter was taken up with the State election authorities. He said they would get a clarification from the Election Commission of India.

The Pillar was erected in 1995 to commemorate the centenary of the Ooty Flower Show. It was unveiled by Ms. Jayalalithaa who was the Chief Minister then.

Subsequently, when the DMK came to power there was a move to remove the pillar. But, the move was given up and the pillar was retained, but in a new shape. However, the original shape was restored when the AIADMK returned to power.

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