AIADMK general secretary Jayalalithaa on Tuesday took objection to the decision of the Tamil Nadu Cabinet to unveil portraits of Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi in old and new Assembly halls.

In a statement here, Ms. Jayalalithaa described as against the “norms of democracy,” and as against the “conventions of the Assembly,” the decision of the Cabinet to unveil the portrait in the absence of a request from anyone and without consulting the Opposition.

She explained that former Chief Minister M.G. Ramachandran's portrait was unveiled in the Assembly Hall in Fort St George not only because the AIADMK wanted it but also because the Congress, then heading the Opposition in the House, strongly favoured the idea.

Congress Legislature Party leader S.R. Balasubramoniyan, members Peter Alphonse and R. Singaram had spoken in the Assembly in support of unveiling MGR's portrait.

She said as far as Parliament was concerned only the Committee on Installation of Portraits/Statues of National Leaders and Parliamentarians in Parliament House could decide on unveiling portraits of leaders and installing their statues.

Ms. Jayalalithaa said if Mr. Karunanidhi had contributed to the welfare of the people and the country, his successors in the government would certainly honour him. “Kamaraj, Anna and MGR never indulged in self-honouring activities. Only their successors honoured them.” If the AIADMK came to power it would set right the wrong precedents that went against convention.

Agriculture Minister Veerapandi S. Arumugam said Ms. Jayalalithaa was objecting to the unveiling of the portraits of Mr. Karunanidhi in the Assembly hall because she was not able to digest his achievements, including the creation of massive Assembly complex, Asia's biggest library and holding of the World Classical Tamil Language Conference.

Mr. Arumugam, who moved the resolution for unveiling the Chief Minister's portrait at the Cabinet meeting, said it was unanimously adopted and leaders of various political parties called him and appreciated his proposal.

“Ms. Jayalalithaa has vented her anger in the statement because her party MLAs are deserting her one by one. They have realised the Chief Minister is the only person who will work for the welfare of Tamils,” he said, adding that more MLAs would desert her if she insisted on her demand.