Tamil Nadu Chief minister J Jayalalithaa who is eyeing a return to office has been embarrassed by two senior ministers in the southern state that goes to the polls on May 16.
A video of sports minister S Sundararajan’s purported late night inspection of a government sports hostel for girls on Thursday during which he asked some “uncomfortable” questions has gone viral and invited sharp reactions from the opponents of the ruling AIADMK.
Some NGOs have moved the National Human Rights Commission against alleged forcible tattooing of Jayalalithaa’s image on the arms of girl students at a government school in the presence of finance minister O Panneerselvam.
A few weeks ago, Jayalalithaa, popularly known as Amma, faced a backlash over the distribution of flood relief packets stamped with her photographs.
Opponents have often accused the all powerful CM of abusing state machinery for furthering her political interests.
Sundararajan defended his visit to the facility in Pudukottai, saying he wanted to “motivate the girls to perform better”.
The video, however, tells a different story. In one of the clips, he asks a student if she knew how much her hockey shoes and kit cost. “We buy and give you your dress, your shoes and a daily stipend of Rs 250 and if after all this, you cannot win a single medal, what is the point of giving you food,” Sundararajan says.
HT couldn’t independently verify the authenticity of the video.
The minister then goes on to ask another girl if she had put on weight and whether her parents knew about it. He also asks her if her parents were living together.
How could a sane person, especially a minister, display such behaviour, Pattali Makkal Katchi chief S Ramadoss said, wondering if Sundararajan was drunk?
A close aide of Jayalalithaa, Panneerselvam came in for all-round criticism last week as he watched Amma’s image being tattooed on the arms of girl students ahead of the her birthday on February 24.
Panneerselvam has twice served as the stopgap chief minister following Jayalalithaa’s legal troubles.
The CM relieved Velachery MLA, who organised the tattoo event, of party positions but that hasn’t stopped the Opposition from embarrassing the ruling party.
ADMK MPs and MLAs often indulge in public display of loyalty for Amma. Her party MPs are also known to carry Jayalalithaa’s picture in the pocket of their white shirts.