CHENNAI: The unusual bonhomie between the ruling party and the opposition appeared to be rapidly fading on Friday after sparks flew during an interaction DMK MLAs led by leader of opposition M K Stalin had in the Speaker’s chamber over making special provisions to allot a seat to party patriarch M Karunanidhi in the Assembly.
The episode triggered sharp reactions from the government. In a statement late on Friday, Finance Minister and Leader of the House O Panneerselvam termed it an effort to cover up the reported rift between father and son.
“The difference of opinion between Karunanidhi and Stalin has been out in the media for the past many days. To cover this up and save face, Stalin is now attempting to level false charges,” Panneerselvam charged.
Earlier, a team of DMK MLAs met Speaker P Dhanapal and explained that the seat allotted to the DMK president in the second row was not conducive for the easy movement of his wheelchair.
At the meeting, J Anbazhagan spoke disrespectfully to the Speaker and it was not condemned by Stalin, the minister alleged and asked, “Is it the way Stalin is safeguarding the tradition of the House?”
Emerging from the meeting with the Speaker, Stalin said Dhanapal’s replies to many of their demands were not satisfactory. “Since the Speaker said he would consider our demands, we will wait till Monday when the House meets next and will take decision on the future course of action as per the advice of our leader,” he added.
Panneerselvam maintained that all arrangements have been made to enable Karunanidhi to attend the session. “Karunanidhi came to the House in wheelchair and took the oath on May 25. Keeping that in mind, the present seat has been allocated to him now. He can come to the House in the coming days just as he did on May 25,” he said.
The issue was not seat allocation, he said. “It is the issue between Karunanidhi and his son. As party president, Karunanidhi should have been elected the Leader of Opposition. Since Stalin took that post and other members have been appointed to the key posts in the DMK legislative party, Karunanidhi has been forced to remain an ordinary member of the party in the Assembly. Since he does not like to take part in the House proceedings as an ordinary member, Stalin is now raising the seat allotment issue, only to only to divert the actual issue,” Panneerselvam alleged.