Tamil Nadu: DMK’s delegation to meet President, seek guv’s recall

Updated on Jan 11, 2023 02:25 AM IST

A DMK leader, requesting anonymity said: “The delegation meeting the President will comprise of Tamil Nadu law minister S Ragupathy, Parliamentary party leader T R Baalu, Lok Sabha MP A Raja and Rajya Sabha MPs NR Elango and P Wilson.”

Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin speaks during the first session of the year of assembly. (PTI)
Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin speaks during the first session of the year of assembly. (PTI)
By, Chennai

A five-member Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam delegation will on Wednesday meet President Droupadi Murmu to submit a memorandum to recall Tamil Nadu governor RN Ravi in connection with his conduct in the state assembly on Monday, people in the know of the matter said on Tuesday.

Ravi had walked out of the assembly session midway when chief minister MK Stalin moved a resolution saying only the printed copy of the governor’s address at the start of the session would be taken on record because certain key parts of it were omitted by Ravi.

A DMK leader, requesting anonymity said: “The delegation meeting the President will comprise of Tamil Nadu law minister S Ragupathy, Parliamentary party leader T R Baalu, Lok Sabha MP A Raja and Rajya Sabha MPs NR Elango and P Wilson.”

The leader said that they had the apprehension of “governor deviating from his speech”.

“We did suspect that the governor may deviate from his speech because it has happened in West Bengal and Kerala... there was a peculiar communication from the Raj Bhavan to play the National Anthem first followed by the Tamil Thai Vazhthu (the state’s anthem which is usually played first),” the leader added.

“Since they (Raj Bhavan) communicated for the order to be changed, we had doubts that he may change the parts of the speech because of which Ravi was expecting trouble and wanted to leave as soon as the National Anthem was played. But he left even before that. So one of the chief minister’s secretaries quickly prepared a resolution after the chief minister noticed that Ravi was skipping parts,” the leader said.

On the issue of the governor changing nomenclature to Tamizhagam governor and replacing the state’s emblem, a DMK spokesperson said that “he is losing self-respect”.

“What we don’t understand is if the Governor is doing all this on his own accord or on the directions of the BJP and RSS,” said DMK spokesperson A Saravanan.

Ravi ‘s invite for the celebration of Pongal, Tamil Nadu’s biggest festival, refers to him as Tamizhagam governor, using the nomenclature that has attracted the ire of the state’s ruling DMK, and other parties. The invitation, from Raj Bhavan, also replaces Tamil Nadu’s state emblem which was present in last year’s invite, with the national emblem. Last year’s invitation also used the term Tamil Nadu governor.

“He refused to use it because Tamil Nadu is written in our emblem,” said MP S Venkatesan of the CPI (M), an ally of the ruling DMK. “He should be recalled.” The MP has tweeted the invite from the Raj Bhavan.

HT reached out to the Raj Bhavan as well the governor’s principal secretary V Anandrao Patil but they did not respond.

The invitation, for the celebration which is on the January 12 was sent out on Tuesday.

Monday’s events at the assembly, and Tuesday’s invitation mark the latest chapter in the ongoing friction between the state government and Ravi, whom the former has accused of functioning like an agent of the Bharatiya Janata Party. Around 20 bills, including important ones such as the bill on banning online gambling , are pending with the Governor.

The controversy over the state’s nomenclature also saw Ravi being heckled in the assembly on Monday by parties such as the Congress and the VCK.

On January 4, addressing volunteers of the Kasi Tamil Sangamam in Raj Bhavan, Ravi said that it would be more appropriate to call the state ‘Tamizhagam’ instead of Tamil Nadu .

Tamil Nadu means the land of the Tamils . In 1967, the last CM of Madras state and DMK’s founder C N Annadurai moved the resolution to name the state Tamil Nadu but stressed that the name did not mean it was a different country (Nadu means country in Tamil).

It is believed that the BJP’s opposition to the name stems from the fact that it uses the term “country”. The state unit of the BJP has supported the Governor by reminding the DMK not to forget calls of secession from the past in the state.

At the core of DMK’s opposition to BJP is the concept of federalism which the party has furthered by using the term union government -- as mandated in the Constitution-- to address the government of India instead of calling it the Centre or Central government .

In Tamil, the party calls the Union government “ondriya arasu”. Ravi, at an event on Tuesday addressing civil service aspirants, said that while he is fine with the usage of the Union government, he finds the Tamil term ”ondriya” politically problematic. “Ondriyam refers to a sub-district level administrative unit in local governance. The intention seems to belittle the government of India,” he said.

Meanwhile posters with the legend “GetOutRavi“ have been put up across the city.

The CPI (M) on Tuesday condemned the governor for skipping portions of the speech saying that he has brazenly violated the Constitutional principle that the governor should act as the voice of the elected state government. “Governor Ravi’s actions also underline a growing pattern under the current BJP led government where governor’s office is used as an instrument to undermine the Constitutional role of the state governments and smacks of an anti-federal tendency and penchant for centralisation of powers.”

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    Divya Chandrababu is an award-winning political and human rights journalist based in Chennai, India. Divya is presently Assistant Editor of the Hindustan Times where she covers Tamil Nadu & Puducherry. She started her career as a broadcast journalist at NDTV-Hindu where she anchored and wrote prime time news bulletins. Later, she covered politics, development, mental health, child and disability rights for The Times of India. Divya has been a journalism fellow for several programs including the Asia Journalism Fellowship at Singapore and the KAS Media Asia- The Caravan for narrative journalism. Divya has a master's in politics and international studies from the University of Warwick, UK. As an independent journalist Divya has written for Indian and foreign publications on domestic and international affairs.

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