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Today Date : Monday, June 24, 2024

Rein in governor or face  ire of TN people: CM

Rein in governor or face ire of TN people: CM

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin said that the union government would face the ire of the Tamil Nadu people if it does not rein in the Governor RN Ravi.
Stalin has given an exclusive interview to an English daily.
Question: Governor has recently dismissed minister V Senthil Balaji from the state cabinet despite knowing that he does not have the powers to do so, and kept the order in abeyance within a few hours. What do you think his intentions are?
Answer:  The Governor’s intention is to disturb the government that has been functioning smoothly and implementation of public welfare schemes. We have made Tamil Nadu a developed state in the country by introducing several schemes in the last couple of years. The governor is unable to accept it and he does not have the slightest intention of doing good for the people. That’s why he has been indulging in an illogical argument against the Governor. For example, he said investment could be attracted by visiting countries when I visited Japan and Singapore to invite investors for the global investors meet and to sign several MoU with investors. What does he try to imply by that other than trying to create a wrong image about the state among the investors. He feels the state should not get any investment and generate job opportunities for youths. Every day, he delivers speeches that do nothing but create confusion among the people. He is annoyed by the good governance in the state. His baseless and anti-constitutional speeches are destroying social harmony. He is well aware that he does not have any power and was appointed as per constitution. Yet he continues to play the reckless game with the people and their welfare.
Question: The governor has been constantly accused of acting on the directions of the BJP-led union government. But his second letter shows that he had kept the dismissal letter of Senthil Balaji in abeyance based on the advice of the union home minister. What is your take on it?
Answer: I don’t want to go into depths of whether he acts based on the direction of the union government or not. Whatever it is, the governor does not have the power to appoint or remove a minister from the cabinet. If the union government does not rein in him, they will face the ire of the people.
Question: While you criticized Senthil Balaji’s dismissal as anti-constitutional, a few years ago you had urged the governor to remove AIADMK ministers facing corruption charges from the cabinet. Isn’t it a double standard?
Answer: It is a political measure to make such demands. But a governor should not become a politician. He should act as per the constitution and his failure to act as per the constitution has triggered suspicions. He acts similarly to the BJP and targets Senthil Balaji. His wife had filed a habeas corpus petition before the court. The BJP has been using the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for its political gain. AIADMK ministers who faced cases and raids from the IT and ED, were not arrested during their regime or even now. But to take revenge, Senthil Balaji is targeted by the central agencies. What is the need to arrest a minister within 18 hours after conducting search operations based on a complaint that was filed about nine years ago? Why is there a hurry to lock him up and elicit a statement? Though he had blocks in his heart and was in need to undergo a bypass surgery, the ED acted in a heartless manner and claimed it was a drama. Initially, they refused to believe the government doctors and then argued against transferring him to a private hospital. We oppose the inhuman act, selective arrest and misuse of power of the ED. Our stand is that he would continue as the minister without portfolio since he was hospitalized. We are not against genuine and proper legal proceedings. We have faced them and won.
Question: There is an opinion that you could have removed Senthil Balaji from the cabinet on moral grounds after he was arrested by the ED.
Answer: Several public representatives including union ministers, have been facing several cases. Even former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa continued to hold the CM post till she was convicted in a corruption case. Election affidavits of some BJP ministers show that they face legal charges. So moral ground cannot be a one-way route. I have taken a stand after the BJP had used the ED to take revenge for its political gains. When you understand how the BJP has used the ED against its political opponents in several states, you will appreciate my stand. The issue is not just about Senthil Balaji but connected with the powers and rights vested in the state government by the constitution. It is directly connected with the basic principles of our party including state autonomy and its rights.
Question: In Tamil Nadu, the relationship between the government and the governor is under strain. Is it possible to continue working with the governor? Just like the alliance parties, do you also put forward the demands to recall the governor?
Answer: Our stand is not to recall Ravi from the state but there is no need to have a governor post.