Chennai: DMK chief M Karunanidhi today left the Tamil Nadu assembly angrily, complaining that “there is no place here for disabled like me.”
The wheelchair-bound former chief minister has been sparring with state Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, who had on Sunday challenged him to attend the session, accusing him of consistently poor attendance. The DMK chief had said he would happily oblige if assured of a proper seat.
Mr Karunanidhi did arrive at the assembly but left within moments, after signing a register to mark his attendance.
“There is no place for a disabled person like me in the assembly. I’m sad that they made sure that I had to leave. I’ve served as an MLA for 50 years. Today I’m unable to serve as an opposition leader. I did not expect this kind of disrespect,” he said.
The 90-year-old veteran politician has been using an electric wheelchair since 2009, when he had spinal surgery.
Elected from Tiruvarur in the 2011 state elections, Mr Karunanidhi was allotted a seat in the second row of the house. Since then, he has largely stayed away from assembly proceedings.
When his party was in power, Mr Karunanidhi had to walk a very short distance to the Chief Minister’s seat. Now, however, he has been allotted a seat that is in the middle.
This is the first session since J Jayalalithaa’s exit in September following her conviction in a corruption case. The session was to start in October, but was not held despite from parties like the DMK.
It was in sarcasm that the Chief Minister had challenged Mr Karunanidhi to attend house, saying he had no right to call for an assembly session when he hardly attended them.