This is the latest flashpoint in the tussle between the MK Stalin government and the Governor
In the latest flashpoint between the MK Stalin government and Tamil Nadu Raj Bhavan, Governor RN Ravi today refused to deliver the customary address to the Assembly at the beginning of the first session every year.
The translation of the speech prepared by the state government, which reviewed its work and outlined the agenda for the session, was read by Speaker M Appavu. The Governor did not even wait for the national anthem at the end of the speech and walked out in a huff.
He made the exit when senior DMK Minister Durai Murugan moved a resolution to not record the Governor's remarks and it was adopted. Responding to the Governor's remarks, Mr Appavu said Tamil Nadu Assembly has followed a tradition of playing the state anthem "Thamizh Thai Vaazhthu" before the Governor's address and the national anthem after it.
The Speaker said personal opinions should not be shared in the House and added that the Governor could instead get the Centre to release a Rs 50,000 crore flood relief from the PM Cares fund.
A statement issued by Raj Bhavan later said the draft address had "numerous passages with misleading claims far from truth". "Hon'ble Governor returned the file with following advice: (a) To show due respect to the National Anthem and play it at the beginning and end of the Governor's address in this regard, Governor had written letters to the Hon'ble Chief Minister and Hon'ble Speaker in the past also (b) Governor's address should reflect Government's achievements, policies and programmes and to inform the house of the causes of its summons and should not be a forum for peddling misleading statements and venting blatantly partisan political views," it said.
The Governor, it said, did not deliver the speech "as it contained numerous passages with misleading claims and facts and reading them would have amounted to Governor's address becoming a constitutional travesty".
Last year, too, dramatic scenes had played out during the Governor's address when he skipped portions of the official speech prepared by the ruling DMK. He had not mentioned parts of the address that mentioned leaders such as Periyar, BR Ambedkar, K Kamaraj, CN Annadurai, and K Karunanidhi. Chief Minister Stalin had responded by moving a resolution to record only the official speech. The Governor had then walked out.
The Governor's refusal to deliver the customary address is the latest face-off between the Raj Bhavan and the DMK government, which has repeatedly accused the Governor of creating hurdles in its work.
Earlier, the Governor and the state government were locked in a tug of war, with the latter accusing him of acting like a BJP spokesperson and not clearing Bills and appointments. The Governor had then said the Constitution empowers him to indefinitely withhold Bills. The matter had reached the Supreme Court, which ruled that the Governor must act on the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers. Thereafter, the Governor had cleared some of the Bills.
The tussle had also reached Rashtrapati Bhavan, when Chief Minister Stalin wrote to President Droupadi Murmu last year, seeking Mr Ravi's removal from the top post.
Mr Stalin has accused the Governor of breaching his oath of office by acting against the state's people and the Constitution.
A Governor searching for an opportunity to bring down an Opposition-ruled state government will only be seen as an "agent of the Centre", he had said. Mr Stalin had also flagged the Governor's action to dismiss Senthil Balaji as a minister after he was arrested by Enforcement Directorate in a money laundering case. The Governor had accused Mr Stalin of "unhealthy bias" in the Senthil Balaji case.