Tamil Nadu

Persons with disabilities emerge winners

R. Selvaraj, elected as a ward member in Keezhputhupattu, Marakkanam, in Villupuram district, in the rural local bodies polls, says he wants to lead by example.

The 38-year-old is among the candidates with disabilities who have emerged victorious in the polls. Contesting the elections for the first time, Mr. Selvaraj said he won by a margin of 105 votes. “I had to put in a lot of effort to campaign and wanted to show the society that despite my disability, I am capable of taking the lead and making a difference,” he said.

A member of the December 3 Movement, he was among 40 other members who contested in the elections as independent candidates. Mr. Selvaraj says his focus will be on improving basic amenities in his village.

Issues to solve

For another candidate, S. Bala Murugan, who got elected as a ward councillor from Thodarnthanur in Villupram district, the issues to focus on are largely similar. “Providing drinking water and improving the condition of the roads here is what I want to work towards,” said the 37-year-old, who contested for the first time and emerged victorious.

As a person with a disability, he said the people’s support for him and his campaign was immense.

For M. Govindan, 50, a candidate from Thoranampathi in Tirupattur, who has been elected a ward member, the opportunity to address the problems of the disabled persons in his village is a welcome one.

“The pandemic has been a huge setback and many of them are facing livelihood struggles. There are several persons with disabilities who also have no homes. I hope to reach out to them and represent their issues,” he said.

The December 3 Movement helped nearly 40 candidates contest in the elections as independent candidates.

Leading by example

“The victories of persons with disabilities in the elections means that they are capable of public life. While many other places are struggling to accept persons with disabilities as people, they have been recognised as leaders here in Tamil Nadu,” said T.M.N. Deepak, founder, December 3 Movement.

Those who have emerged victorious are not only capable of fighting for their own rights as disabled persons, but will also take charge and address the concerns of the society at large, he said.

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Printable version | Dec 8, 2021 10:58:02 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/persons-with-disabilities-emerge-winners/article36994906.ece

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