Tamil Nadu Assembly Speaker Appavu has said that the people of Tamil Nadu are not “any lesser” than those who believe in the ideologies of Godse and Savarkar. Appavu’s comment came after Tamil Nadu Governor RN Ravi refused to read out the customary speech on Monday, February 12 during the first Assembly session of the year.
He said, “You have spoken what is on your mind, we will tell you what is on ours. A severe storm and flood hit Tamil Nadu, the Union government did not give even a paisa of aid. There are several lakh crores in the PM Cares Funds. The Funds for which the people of India cannot ask accounts for. We too could ask, ‘can’t the governor get us at least 50,000 crores from those funds?’ You are descendants of Godse and Savarkar. The people of Tamil Nadu and the Assembly are no less than you.”
The Governor walked out of the Assembly before the national anthem could be played. The national anthem was set to be played last after the ‘Tamil Thai Vazhthu’, the inaugural speech by the governor, and the Speaker’s address.
The clash of words was triggered after the Governor took issue with the prepared speech and refused to read it out during his inaugural address of the Assembly. “The speech has numerous passages with which I convincingly disagree on factual and moral grounds, I cannot lend my voice to as it would constitute a constitutional travesty,” Ravi had said. Moreover, he alleged that his repeated requests to play the national anthem before and after each session of the Assembly are being ignored. The Governor appears to have walked out of the Assembly before the national anthem could be played. The national anthem was set to be played last after the ‘Tamil Thai Vazhthu’, the inaugural speech by the governor and the Speaker’s address.
A press release issued later in the day by the Raj Bhavan said: “When the Speaker concluded the address, the Governor rose for the national anthem, as scheduled. However, the Speaker instead of following the schedule, launched a tirade against the Governor and called him a follower of Nathuram Godse and more. The Speaker with his unbecoming conduct lowered the dignity of his chair and the grace of the House.”
Both the Speaker’s statements and the Governor’s speech have reportedly been expunged from the records.
This clash between the state government and the Governor is reminiscent of the row that ensued last year when RN Ravi omitted multiple paragraphs from the prepared speech that referred to the state’s ‘Dravidian Model’, Dr BR Ambedkar, and Dravidian leaders like Periyar and Annadurai. Ravi similarly stormed out of the Assembly after his refusal to read out the whole speech caused a furore.