Governor vs Tamil Nadu govt: What happened at the Assembly?
Tamil Nadu Assembly, witnessed unprecedented scenes on Monday with CM MK Stalin moving a resolution against Governor RN Ravi who "staged a walkout".

Governor vs Tamil Nadu govt: What happened at the Assembly?

The confrontation between the ruling DMK and the Raj Bhavan in Tamil Nadu took an ugly turn on Monday with the government accusing Governor RN Ravi of skipping a few references during his address to the state Assembly, prompting Chief Minister MK Stalin to move a motion to reject the deviations, while Ravi staged perhaps an unprecedented walkout.

#GetOutRavi trends on Twitter

The high drama on the floor of the House soon snowballed into a heated debate online between the supporters and critics of the ruling DMK, while “#GetOutRavi” was trending on Twitter, with many calling for his ouster from the gubernatorial post.

The DMK-dominated House had convened for the first session of the year with the governor’s customary address to the members, which the main opposition dubbed as a “disappointment”, and said it was “indecent” on the part of the CM to have “spoken” when the governor was seated, alluding to the resolution moved by Stalin.

Stormy start to speech

Earlier, Ravi began his address amid slogan shouting against him by MLAs belonging to the ruling DMK allies. As soon as he began his address in Tamil, greeting members on the New Year and the harvest festival Pongal, legislators raised slogans including ‘Tamil Nadu Vazhgave’ (Long live Tamil Nadu) and ‘Engal Nadu Tamil Nadu’ (Our land is Tamil Nadu). The slogans later ceased.

The deviation

Ravi made a reference to Swami Vivekananda, much to the chagrin of the treasury benches, skipping certain portions from his customary speech. He omitted the names of Dravidian stalwarts, including the late EV Ramasamy Periyar and CN Annadurai.

Right from the beginning of his speech, the governor encountered opposition from the DMK’s allies, which attempted to disrupt his speech by rushing to the well of the House and raising slogans against him. However, an unruffled Ravi continued his speech, sticking to major portions of the text on the initiatives of the State government, especially the “Illam Thedi Kalvi” and “Makkalai thedi maruthuvam”, in the education and health sectors.

Also read: DMK, allies urge President to sack TN Governor RN Ravi in petition

Skips mention of Dravidian model

Ravi skipped the 65th point of the speech which says the government is founded on the ideals of social justice, self-respect, inclusive growth, equality, women empowerment, secularism and compassion towards all. Dravidian model were among the words skipped by the governor and he also spoke on his own on certain aspects.

“Following the principles and ideals of stalwarts like Thanthai Periyar (EV Ramasamy), Annal Ambedkar, Perunthalaivar Kamarajar (K Kamaraj), Perarignar Anna (CN Annadurai) and Muthamizh Arignar Kalaignar (M Karunanidhi), the government has been delivering the much-acclaimed Dravidian model of governance to its people,” the text containing 67 points in all, had read.

Ravi also omitted portions of the 12th point which talks about the state taking all necessary measures to ensure that it continues to be a haven of peace and tranquility, free from any form of violence. He concluded his speech by uttering “Vazhiya Senthamizh! Vazhga Natramizhar!” and “Vazhiya Bharatha Mani Thiru Nadu!”

Stalin moves resolution to reject deviation

After the Governor’s speech was read out in Tamil by Speaker M Appavu, the chief minister stood up and moved a resolution against Ravi, seeking to reject the deviation that he made and to declare as valid only the prepared text of the Governor’s address tabled in the House. Before Stalin could conclude his remarks, Ravi got up and walked out of the House, before the national anthem was played to signify the conclusion of the day’s proceedings.

Speaker Appavu expressed regret that the Governor had skipped the names of iconic leaders. Later, reacting to the developments in the Assembly, Industries Minister Thangam Thenarasu said Ravi had deviated from the customary tradition of the House. “His speech was prepared by the government and sent to him for approval. We consider it as an insult to the national anthem as he walked out even before it was played,” he alleged.

Opposition hits out at govt

Leader of the Opposition AIADMK K Palaniswami claimed the chief minister piloting a resolution against the governor went against tradition. It did not have announcements on any major government projects and therefore was a disappointment, he told reporters.

The BJP also threw its weight behind the governor and lashed out at the ruling DMK and Speaker M Appavu. BJP state president K Annamalai charged that DMK and its alliance partners acted like “fringe elements” on Monday. Intervening in the governor’s address with a motion when he was still in the Assembly is “disrespectful and amateurish”, Annamalai said in a series of tweets.

DMK allies laud Stalin

Many DMK workers, supporters of the party and its led alliance lauded Stalin for his resolution and trended on Twitter, the hashtag “GetoutRavi”.

Dr S Ramadoss said, “Tamil Nadu has never seen a governor who has no respect for House traditions and decency.” AMMK leader TTV Dhinakaran regretted the day’s developments and said it was a “black day” in the history of Tamil Nadu Assembly.

The governor and the ruling DMK and its allies have sparred over a number of issues including his reluctance to approve the TN Assembly Bill, seeking NEET exemption
for the state.

(With agency inputs)

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