More than a year after Vidyasagar Rao was given additional charge as the Governor of Tamil Nadu, the President on Saturday appointed Banwarilal Purohit as the new Governor. Political parties in the state welcomed the move but believe that he will still be acting on behalf of the central government.
Tamil Nadu has been in political turmoil since the demise of former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa in December, 2016 and the constant delay by the former Governor in taking decisions, has been often criticised by the political parties.
Speaking to TNM, A Saravanan, DMK spokesperson said, “It is a welcome first step, we are getting a full-time Governor at least now and in that sense, we are happy. Hopefully, he will act as per the constitutional norms and principles. We hope that he will set right all the anomalies that are prevailing in the state.”
However, he also stated that Governors don’t take any independent decisions. “They just parrot what the Central government says and that is what he is going to do. At least, he is going to be here in Tamil Nadu and will be accessible anytime. That is the first relief,” said Saravanan.
But Congress leader Jothimani believes that this move will not change anything and BJP will continue to control the state government. “The issue is very clear whether it is a part-time Governor or a full-time Governor, BJP wants to control the government. Now, every other day, some issue arises like recently 18 MLAs were disqualified, a lot of uncertain things are happening, people are very angry with the current government and they want to go for fresh elections. For people of Tamil Nadu, it is irrelevant if we have full-time Governor or a part-time Governor, the work of Governor is to work on behalf of BJP, we have seen the earlier Governor also do that,” she said.
Criticising the state government, Jothimani said that the MLAs cannot even handle issues like dengue. “There needs to be a proper panchayat to handle such matters and there have not been local elections even after the court asked to conduct them. This government is a ‘benami of BJP’. I see the new Governor's appointment as an extension of controlling power, nothing more than that,” she said.
She added, “The last Governor added up to all the political turmoil in the state and the new Governor will do the same. Irrespective of the name of the Governor, they have only one agenda, now they realise they cannot rule Tamil Nadu so they are using an indirect channel that is the office of Governor,” said Jothimani.
However, AIADMK spokesperson CR Saraswathi welcomed the move. “We are happy with the announcement of new Governor because we need a permanent Governor for Tamil Nadu. Vidyasagar Rao was Governor of two states which is difficult for both the states. Tamil Nadu is one of the big states, now at least we can meet him anytime and we believe that the honourable Governor will take up all the issues and everything will be smooth. No need to wait for the Governor,” she said.
Asked if the new Governor will add to the political turmoil, she said, “Once he takes charge, only then we can say if he will add up to all the political turmoil. He is a very senior person, in politics also, and definitely he will be neutral to everybody. He will do the job,” said Saraswathi.
Meanwhile, state BJP president Tamilisai Soundarajan said that the political situation in Tamil Nadu and the appointment of the new Governor should not be viewed together.
This announcement comes at a time when the cases related to disqualification of 18 AIADMK MLAs and the DMK’s petition to quash the privilege committee’s notice against 21 MLAs, are due to be heard next week. The Madras High Court had stayed the floor test until the case relating to the disqualification of MLAs is disposed off.