CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappdai K Palaniswami Wednesday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, urging the Centre again to confer the country's highest civilian honour Bharat Ratna on late J Jayalalithaa and Dravidian icon C N Annadurai.
The Bharat Ratna "would be the most fitting way to recognise the extraordinary public service, phenomenal achievements and the remarkable life of one of the most influential political leaders of independent India," Palaniswami said in the letter to Modi, recalling Jayalalithaa's welfare measures and initiatives.
The chief minister drew Modi's attention to a letter of December 18, 2016 of the state government recommending the award to the former chief minister posthumously.
Jayalalithaa passed away on December 5, 2016. The Tamil Nadu Cabinet resolved on September 9 to reiterate to the Centre its decision taken in the Cabinet meeting on December 10, 2016, he said.
Hailing former chief minister Annadurai as "the ideological fountainhead of major Dravidian parties," Palaniswami said the late leader stood for a "politics that foregrounded social equality, self-respect and linguistic pride. Annadurai was a great social reformer, writer, orator, litterateur and a tall Dravidian leader," he said.
Palaniswami highlighted another Cabinet decision taken last week urging the Centre to rename Chennai Central Railway Station after "Puratchi Thalaivar Dr MG Ramachandran," in view of his birth centenary celebrations.
Ramachandran was posthumously awarded the Bharat Ratna in 1988. On August 24, AIADMK's executive committee meet renewed its demand for conferring the Bharat Ratna on Jayalalithaa.
Also, it sought the highest civilian honour for late Dravidian stalwarts E V Ramasamy 'Periyar' and Annadurai.
AIADMK first made the demand for honouring Jayalalithaa with Bharat Ratna months after her demise in December 2016, and the move to seek the honour for Periyar and Annadurai comes decades after their death.