What Led to the Row?According to a report by the Hindu, four months after RN Ravi took office in September 2021, DMK parliamentary party leader TR Baalu demanded his resignation for failing to forward to then-President Ram Nath Kovind a Bill passed by the Assembly that sought to exempt government seats in undergraduate medical and dental programmes from the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET).Even though the legislation is now awaiting Presidential assent, there are numerous other bills awaiting Governor approval. Ravi approved the Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Online Gambling and Regulation of Online Games Bill, which was also on the waiting list, as an ordinance on October 1, 2022.
Why Did Governor Walk Out of Assembly Earlier?The row saw its latest escalation after Ravi walked out of the Assembly minutes before CM Stalin completed reading out the resolutions which demanded to only include the speech printed and approved by the government.
A resolution seeking to relax Rule 17 of the state assembly and not include the speech delivered by the Governor in the Legislative Assembly was unanimously adopted by the House.Earlier in the day, the Governor in his customary address in the Legislative Assembly had skipped mentioning the Dravidian model of governance as well as did not name the leaders including Thanthai Periyar, B.R. Ambedkar, and even former Chief Ministers, K. Kamaraj and C.N. Annadurai. However, he mentioned the name of Kalaignar Karunanidhi in another line.The allies of the DMK, including Congress, Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK), MDMK, and CPI-M, had shouted slogans against the Governor during his address, against the Governor’s mention of Tamil Nadu as Tamizhagam recently.The walkout of the Governor led to him not being present during the National Anthem in the House. The House was adjourned for the day after these incidents.
A Deeper LookIn Tamil Nadu, the tensions have steadily increased after the DMK stormed into power in May 2021, after spending ten years in the opposition benches. A few months later, when RN Ravi took over as Tamil Nadu governor on September 18, 2021, eyebrows were raised in local political circles over the appointment of a former top cop and Naga peace talks interlocutor.To begin with, it appeared that relations were cordial. However, with the governor not giving his assent to several legislations passed by the assembly, the DMK began getting restive. It was only after the assembly unanimously passed the NEET exemption Bill twice, that the governor sent it to the President for approval. During their meeting with President Murmu last week, the DMK delegation had complained that as many as 20 Bills are pending with Ravi.
Where Does BJP Come in?Despite very low traction in the ‘Dravidian state’ the ruling BJP at the Centre is making all out efforts to create a space for itself in Tamil Nadu, an IANS report opined. The Tamil Nadu unit of the BJP, led by an aggressive Annamalai, himself a former IPS officer, has been rooting for the governor and his every move.With the 2024 parliamentary polls set to be the next electoral battle in Tamil Nadu, the next two years may see further acrimony between the governor and the state government, the report said.A political analyst told IANS that this state of affairs could benefit both, the DMK as well as the BJP to cross swords without actually resorting to an all out war.
Where Else is a Similar Problem Being Observed?
A similar problem is being witnessed between the government and governors in two other southern states – Kerala and and Telangana. A similar face-off is also brewing between the Delhi government and LG Saxena.
KeralaThe dispute between Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan and the state’s LDF-led CPI(M) government saw the government bringing an ordinance to remove the Governor from the position of Chancellor of state universities late last year.
The State Cabinet intended to replace the Chancellor with an expert academician. The Governor and the state government have been at odds for some time, with the Governor alleging irregularities in university operations and the appointment of vice-chancellors in state-run universities. Read more on this here
TelanganaIn Telangana, Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan had made a serious allegation against the TRS government, voicing suspicion that her phone might be tapped. Similar to Kerala and Tamil Nadu, Governor Soundararajan is being accused of not sending eight bills for the President’s assent, including the Telangana Universities Common Recruitment Board Bill, which she has refused to clear, News18’s Rohini Swamy explained.
In September, the Telangana Governor, while speaking at an event at the Raj Bhavan, accused the TRS government of “humiliating” her office by not allowing her to hoist the national flag on Independence Day or deliver the Governor’s address. The state government had commenced the Budget Session of the Assembly without the customary address of the Governor. Read more here
With inputs from IANS
Read all the Latest Explainers here