Special Correspondent

Film and other honours not announced with elections in mind, says Chief Minister

CHENNAI: Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Saturday denied the charge that the State Government had hurriedly announced the State film and `Kalaimamani' awards with an eye on the coming Assembly elections.

While giving away the awards to 123 artists for 2004 and 2005 at a function here, Ms. Jayalalithaa referred to various schemes implemented by the Government to promote different cultural activities, besides supporting the artists.

Aid increased

It had been decided to increase the monthly financial assistance to 5,150 aged indigent artistes from Rs.500 to Rs.750. This would cost an additional expenditure of Rs. 1.55 crore to the exchequer, she said.

Among the recipients of the `Kalaimamani' Award were Tamil scholars S. Sivakamasundari, Tenkachi Ko. Swaminathan and K. Gnanasambandan. Film personalities including Vikram, Sneha, Surya, Jyotika, Charlie, Vadivelu, P. Vasu, M. Peethambaram and K.S. Ravikumar received the award. The award was conferred on 13 Bharatanatyam exponents including Sarada Hoffman, Shobana Ramesh, Gopika Varma and Leela Sampson. In the field of music, 48 artists including S.R. Krishnamurthy, Usha Rajagopalan, Charumathi Ramachandran, Dwaram Mangathayar and Aruna Sairam received the award.

Crazy R. Mohan, P.S. Panchapakesan, P.R. Durai, T. Krishnan and `Bombay' Gnanam were among the stage artists honoured with the award. A total of nine folk artistes and 10 dance drama artistes also received the award.

Ms. Jayalalithaa unveiled the portraits of 20 eminent deceased artistes including `Kalki' Krishnamurthy, Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer, M.S. Subbulakshmi, Gemini Ganesan, Jikki, P. Leela, V.K. Ramasamy and P. Banumathi. She also handed over cash awards to six senior `Kalaimamani' awardees who were in indigent circumstances.

Without mentioning the name of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam president M. Karunanidhi, she flayed him for his remark that the Government had hastily announced the `Kalaimamani' Award just as it had given away the film awards after keeping the relevant files in cold storage, owing to its reluctance to distribute them. Such criticism only showed that he was under the grip of election fear, she said.

`Bid to attribute motives'

For her, making announcements, taking initiatives and implementing projects had been a routine, day-to-day affair. She had been doing it keeping people's welfare alone in mind. "But the person, who makes every move with an eye on the elections, attempts to attribute motives to these projects. That is why he shouts in fear that the welfare schemes implemented by my Government are election-oriented."

Every passing day was a day of achievements in the State, thanks to the steps taken by her Government, she said, adding that those who were unable to tolerate this had been attributing motives. She had been acting in such a way to do good for the people but her critics wanted to stall the benefits. Braving all opposition she would continue to implement schemes for the benefit of the people, she said.

Member-Secretary of the Iyal Isai Nataka Manram Kunnakudi Vaidyanathan presented the report on the activities of the organisation. President of the Manram P.B. Srinivas thanked the Chief Minister for extending support to the artistes.