Stalin keeps a nuanced distance while DMK slams Governor on all fronts

Stalin keeps a nuanced distance while DMK slams Governor on all fronts

DMK functionaries and allies are criticising the Governor to keep him in check, and ensure he doesn't stretch his constitutional authority

The tussle between the Tamil Nadu Governor and the DMK government in the state is hardly new, and it took a turn for the worse with the ruling party calling Governor RN Ravi the ‘BJP chief of Tamil Nadu’. Yet, the relationship between Ravi and Chief Minister MK Stalin is more evolved than the ones shared by their respective counterparts in other non-BJP ruled states. 

This is because, while the DMK’s organs — from its leaders to social media cell to party organ Murasoli — go at the Governor hammer and tongs, Ravi and Stalin strictly toe the line of political propriety. 

Political analysts and even partymen feel the DMK functionaries and allies are criticising the Governor to keep him in check, and ensure he doesn’t stretch his constitutional authority — something his predecessors did not abstain from.

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Nothing personal, says Stalin

Stalin said in the Assembly on Monday, April 18, that he had no personal grudge against Ravi. But, his party had to boycott the tea hosted by Raj Bhavan last week since the Governor had not forwarded the anti-NEET Bill passed by the Tamil Nadu Assembly for the second time to the President for his assent, he added.

“Governor RN Ravi is a good person to talk with. We do not hold personal grudges against him. The Governor and I have very good relations. During our meetings, he has praised our work. In his public speeches, has praised us for the way we are working,” Stalin said. 

However, he said, it is not acceptable for the Governor to not forward the Bill passed by the Assembly unanimously. “It is an insult to the people of Tamil Nadu,” he said.

DMK functionaries, including ministers, have been criticising Raj Bhavan for its activities. When the DMK and its allies boycotted the tea hosted by the Governor, Tamil Nadu BJP chief Annamalai called it a ‘saving’ of expenses. In response, state Finance Minister Palanivel Thiaga Rajan (PTR) quipped that even the tea bills would be settled by the state government; when the files reached him, he would know if any expense had been saved. 

Controversy over Aadheenam visit

The Governor’s non-official conduct is also coming under criticism. His proposed visit to the Dharmapuram Aadheenam is being criticised and opposed by the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi and the CPI(M), both allies of the DMK, and Dravidar Kazhagam, the parent organisation of the party. 

Ravi is scheduled to visit and flag off the 10-day Gnana Ratha Yatra of Dharmapuri Gurumaha Sannidhanam, Shri Masilamani Desiga Gnanasambandha Swamigal. The seer’s yatra is in connection with the Pushkaran festival in Kaleshwaram, Telangana.

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Speaking on the issue, the Anti Methane Project Movement’s coordinator Professor T Jayaraman said the Governor has been propagating the RSS agenda by campaigning for Hindi and Sanskrit. “Aadheenams in Tamil Nadu are symbols of Tamil language and Shaivism. The Governor should not be allowed to exploit it by hosting the event,” he said.

When the Governor does not have the time to clear the anti-NEET Bill, how come he gets time to host religious events in the state, Jayaraman asked. Political parties have warned of protests across the district if the Governor hosts the event, and have asked the Aadhenam to refrain from letting it happen. 

Standing up to the Governor

Speaking on these developments, political analyst A Ramasamy said the DMK has been vocal against the Governor’s activities. “Unlike the other non-BJP state chief ministers, Stalin has not been going behind the Governor for everything. He speaks on legitimate issues and leaves the rest for his partymen and allies to handle,” he said. “But we cannot separate Stalin’s view and his party organ Murasoli’s view.” 

Last week, Murasoli slammed Ravi over his inaction on the anti-NEET Bill. Its editorial, titled Ayya! Thaangal janaadipathi alla (‘Sir, you are not the President’), published on Saturday, said the Governor’s duty is to send the Bill for the President’s assent. He has not performed this duty and is, instead, playing politics, it said.

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