Although the demolition order was issued two months ago, the ruling DMK chose to enforce it on the day the AIADMK leader returned to Chennai after a four-month break in Nilgiris.
AIADMK workers erected the two arches on Jayalalithaa's 57th birthday, along a highway in Perambalur district. Two months ago, the Supreme Court ordered their demolition citing a violation of the Highways Act.
"It's ridiculous," says political commentator S Murari, "One recollects a cartoon by R K Laxman, where a passengers peeps out of a plane and seeing a giant cut out of Jayalalithaa exclaims 'We've reached Chennai!' This is part of the sycophancy in Tamil Nadu.''
When Jayalalithaa was Chief Minister, she had a statue of Kannagi removed because she found it inauspicious. The statue came right back when Karunanidhi returned to power in 2006, because the DMK considers Kannagi a Tamil iconic figure.