Governor meets officials, triggers controversy
State autonomy compromised: parties
Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit on Tuesday evening held a meeting with the top officials of the Coimbatore district, including Collector T.N. Hariharan, City Police Commissioner A. Amalraj (who was transferred in the evening) and Corporation Commissioner K. Vijayakarthikeyan, triggering a political outcry from Opposition leaders who charged that the meeting was an affront to the State’s autonomy.
Representatives of nongovernmental organisations, activists and members of the public also participated in the “interaction” organised at the Circuit House, where the Governor was staying during his maiden visit to the western city.
Mr. Purohit had come to Coimbatore to attend the convocation ceremony at the Bharathiar University in his capacity as its Chancellor.
Emerging after the meeting, the Collector told journalists that the Governor wanted to interact with officials and know what was happening in Coimbatore. It was not specific to a project or a scheme or a department. He wanted to have a bird’s eye view.
It was only healthy that the Governor interacted with the officials
s S.P. Velumani Local Administration Minister
Parties flay meeting
Criticising the Governor’s action, VCK leader Thol Thirumavalavan alleged that it indicated that the Centre was interfering in the State’s administration. Six members of the Thanthai Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam staged a protest near the Circuit House and raised slogans against the meeting. The police removed them.
However, Local Administration Minister S.P. Velumani, who hails from Coimbatore, said it was only ‘healthy’ that the Governor “interacted” with the officials. Denying that he was “kept out” of the meeting, Mr. Velumani said he had met the Governor at the airport here and had a detailed discussion with him.
Separately, Higher Education Minister K. P. Anbalagan contended that the Governor’s action would not amount to interference in administration. It would in no way affect the State’s autonomy.
MDMK youth wing secretary V. Eswaran said while there was nothing wrong in the Governor interacting with the officials, it would be wrong if he had reviewed projects. The Governor would do well to stay within his constitutional limits and not call districtlevel officials for a meeting.
BJP State general secretary Vanathi Srinivasan said it was definitely not a review meeting.
The Governor wanted to make use of his maiden visit to interact with the officials, NGOs and members of the civil society, and that was what he was doing, she added.
To misconstrue it as a review meeting would be far fetched, she contended and denied that State Ministers were asked to stay away from the Governor’s interaction with officials.
Seeing red: Opposition parties say the Governor’s actions are tantamount to interference in State affairs.