Out on bail after his recent arrest on charges of making a provocative speech against Chief Minister K Palaniswami and police, Independent MLA S Karunaas, elected on the AIADMK symbol, on Friday, October 12 called on DMK president M K Stalin.
Karunaas said he had called on Stalin, leader of the opposition in the state assembly since the DMK chief had spoken in his support during the MLA's arrest last month while questioning why BJP leaders H Raja and S Ve Shekher, both facing cases, had been spared.
Karunaas indicated a section of media and people were of the belief that he was being "directed" by Stalin or Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK) founder T T V Dhinakaran.
"Media and people say I am being directed by Stalin and T T V Dhinakaran. According to me only Pasumpon Muthuramalinga Thevar can direct me and my community members," he told reporters after meeting Stalin.
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Thevar, a freedom fighter, is a highly respected figure in parts of south Tamil Nadu. A film comedian, Karunaas heads a caste-based outfit, 'Mukkulathor Puli Padai,' and was elected from Thiruvadaanai in Ramanathapuram district in the 2016 Assembly polls on the AIADMK's Two Leaves symbol. Repeating his criticism against Assembly Speaker P Dhanapal, he said the former was acting in a "partisan" manner.
Karunaas, also an actor, recalled he had therefore served a notice seeking Dhanapal's removal. The move by the MLA came amid reports that the ruling AIADMK was considering seeking his disqualification and that of three other MLAs supporting Dhinakaran, who has been vowing to oust the Palanaiswami government.
Chief Minister K Palaniswami has indicated Karunaas might face action for seeking Dhanapal's removal. In 2017, on a plea by AIADMK, the speaker had disqualified 18 MLAs loyal to Dhinakaran, after they had petitioned the then governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao saying they had lost confidence in the chief minister and wanted him to be replaced. The Madras High Court has recently reserved orders on petitions challenging the disqualifications.