Guv’s meet with Kovai officials stirs controversy
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.”