Guv’s meet with Ko­vai of­fi­cials stirs con­tro­versy

The New Indian Express - - FRONT PAGE - T MURUGANANTHAM @ Chennai

GOVER­NOR Ban­war­i­lal Puro­hit on Tues­day broke new ground by per­haps be­com­ing the first one hold­ing the high of­fice since Dra­vid­ian par­ties cap­tured power in Tamil Nadu to call a meet­ing of state govern­ment of­fi­cials in the ab­sence of an elected rep­re­sen­ta­tive. By do­ing so, he walked straight into a full blown con­tro­versy.

The Gover­nor, who was in Coim­bat­ore to at­tend the Bharathiar Univer­sity’s con­vo­ca­tion, be­gan the meet­ing with of­fi­cials around 3.30 pm. It lasted over two-and-a-half hours. There were pow­erpoint pre­sen­ta­tions and dis­cus­sions about govern­ment schemes.

Of­fi­cials who at­tended it said the Gover­nor did not crit­i­cise any­one nor did he ask any­one to pur­sue a project. “He just heard what was pre­sented be­fore him,” said an of­fi­cial. Though the Gover­nor has pow­ers to con­vene such meet­ings, peo­ple in gu­ber­na­to­rial po­si­tions have for decades main­tained a steady dis­tance from the State ad­min­is­tra­tion. Tamil Nadu also cher­ishes its State au­ton­omy.

While state min­is­ters down­played the meet, op­po­si­tion par­ties called it a in­ter­fer­ence in the state’s au­ton­omy. Some drew par­al­lels with Ki­ran Bedi, Lt Gover­nor of Puducherry, who is in the news for tak­ing the rul­ing Congress govern­ment to task. But for Puro­hit, con­ven­ing such meet­ings is not new. Even in As­sam he called for such meet­ings.

Giv­ing his opin­ion on the con­tro­versy sur­round­ing the Gover­nor con­ven­ing a meet­ing of of­fi­cials, se­nior lawyer KM Vi­jayan said, “The State Gover­nor in­deed has pow­ers to meet and ques­tion of­fi­cials but has no power to take any de­ci­sion re­gard­ing gov­er­nance with­out the con­sent of the coun­cil of min­is­ters. So, we have to wait and see what hap­pens here­after.”

Ban­war­i­lal Puro­hit

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