Stalin writes to President seeking action on guv, BJP hits back | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

Stalin writes to President seeking action on guv, BJP hits back

By, Chennai:
Jul 09, 2023 11:30 PM IST

Stalin, in his letter to the President on Saturday, criticised the governor for his alleged involvement in “ideological and political conflict with the democratically elected DMK, and purported attempts “to topple the state government”

Tamil Nadu chief minister M K Stalin has written to President Droupadi Murmu against the “unconstitutional functioning” of governor R N Ravi, and accused him of “defaming” Tamil culture, indulging in “cheap politics” and stoking “communal hatred”.

Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin writes to President Droupadi Murmu seeking action against the governor RN Ravi. (PTI)
Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin writes to President Droupadi Murmu seeking action against the governor RN Ravi. (PTI)

The chief minister, in his letter to the President on Saturday, also criticised the governor for his alleged involvement in “ideological and political conflict with the democratically elected Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), and purported attempts “to topple the state government”.

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Sharing a copy of the letter written in Tamil, on Twitter on Sunday, Stalin said: “I have written to Hon’ble @rashtrapatibhvn apprising about the unconstitutional functioning of the Tamil Nadu Governor, his disregard for elected government and the state legislature, and overreach in state affairs. The Governor’s acts of delaying assent to bills, interfering with police investigations, and promoting divisive ideologies are a threat to democracy. I trust the Hon’ble President will take appropriate action to protect the spirit of our Constitution.”

There was no immediate response available from Raj Bhavan.

Both the state government and governor have been locked in a standoff over various issues for quite some time, including the latter’s pending assent to nearly a dozen bills. Of the nearly 21 bills, governor Ravi returned two to the House. The two bills were forwarded to the President as the House cleared them later again.

In his letter, Stalin said the governor was “causing unnecessary delay in clearing bills passed by the assembly, besides files, and posed hindrance to the work of the state government and the assembly”.

He also alleged that ever since Ravi assumed office in September 2021, the latter had been involved in “an ideological and political conflict with the democratically elected DMK”. He claimed that Ravi’s tenure as Nagaland governor earlier was also not satisfactory and that the ruling Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) in the northeastern state had said that there was peace only after his exit.

Stalin also accused Ravi of “stoking communal hatred” and said he is a “threat to Tamil Nadu’s peace”. Through his “divisive religious speeches”, the governor has been suggesting that he does not have “faith” in secularism, he said.

The chief minister also raised doubts over the governor’s pending nod to the Central Bureau of Investigation and Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption to prosecute four former ministers of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam in two cases of alleged corruption. The Raj Bhavan, however, on July 6 said the legal examination is pending in CBI’s case and that the governor is awaiting a report from the state’s anti-corruption wing in the DVAC case. The state had described the response as “wrong information”.

Stalin, in the letter, also pointed at the governor’s recent move to dismiss state minister V Senthil Balaji from the cabinet (Ravi backtracked later after widespread criticism from several quarters), saying it indicated the latter’s political inclination. Balaji was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate in a case-for-jobs case last month.

“On the one hand, Ravi delayed sanction to prosecute former ministers in the previous AIADMK regime and on the other hand, through his hasty action in Senthil Balaji’s matter – against whom only now a probe has begun – he has displayed his political inclinations,” the letter said.

In handling the Balaji case, the governor has violated Constitutional provisions, it added.

“By way of his behaviour and action, the governor has proved to be partial and ineligible to hold the office of governor; Ravi is fit to be removed from the high office,” Stalin said.

The chief minister also said that the governor’s speeches and actions were “not only obstructing the democratically elected government but also provoking disdain, contempt, and hostility towards the law of the land”.

He cited a 2022 report of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister in which Tamil Nadu had scored 63.33 points as against the national average of 60.19 in the social development index.

Stalin, who heads the home department, also claimed that the governor had made misleading statements of the banned two-finger test being conducted on minor girls during an investigation into alleged child marriages at the famous Chidambaram Nataraja temple.

The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) slammed the letter. “Can’t understand what… Stalin is complaining about when the people of the State have a lot to complain about his governance,” state BJP president K Annamalai said.

“Thiru Stalin and his corrupt DMK government is an acting puppet for sand smugglers and money launderers and has turned the state into one lawless jungle just like his friend in West Bengal,” he added.

Chief ministers of several non-BJP-ruled states such as Kerala, Telangana and West Bengal in the past have also raised concerns over the governors’ delay in approving bills cleared by the respective state assemblies, and accused them of acting at the behest of the BJP at the Centre.

The latest standoff between the elected government in Tamil Nadu and the centrally appointed governor has laid bare tensions in the federal compact caused by gubernatorial overreach in the political domain, a phenomenon that’s best avoided in the larger interests of Indian democracy.

(With PTI inputs)

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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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