DMK Mouthpiece Accuses Tamil Nadu Governor of Crossing His Limits
Tamil Nadu Governor RN Ravi’s recent Republic Day speech has changed the cordial relations that the state government has been maintaining with him since he took charge in September 2021. In a strongly-worded piece in the ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK)’s mouthpiece Murasoli, RN Ravi has now been accused of pushing his limits.
In the Republic Day celebration in Chennai on January 26, Ravi spoke in support of the much opposed National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) and indirectly attacked the bilingual policy of the state.
His comments on the NEET came after he refrained from uttering a word about the pending resolution on NEET and inordinately delayed sending it for the President’s approval. In the first assembly session after the DMK-formed the government, a resolution was adopted exempting the state from the entrance test, which is pending with the Governor.
The Governor also made a remark that the state was depriving students of knowledge of other Indian languages. Industries Minister Thangam Thennarasu was quick to respond to Ravi as he said other Indian languages would mean prioritising Hindi, which is seen as the imposition of the language.
Notably, both these comments of Ravi were against the stance of the major political parties in Tamil Nadu, except the ruling party in the Centre, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Even All India Anna Dravia Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), BJP’s ally till recently, is opposed to the Union government’s NEET.
ARTICLE IN MURASOLI
In the DMK party mouthpiece Murasoli, a long piece condemning the Governor was published on January 29. Given that it is the official newspaper of the ruling party, the criticism of the Governor sent ripples through the political circles in Tamil Nadu.
The one page-long article under the pseudonym Silandhi (meaning spider) read that “it seems that Tamil Nadu Governor Ravi has at times begun to act beyond his authority.”
The article cited the affairs that took place when RN Ravi served as the Governor of Nagaland before he was deputed to Tamil Nadu. It recalled that the leader of the National Democratic Progressive Party of Nagaland, Chingwang Konyak had commented that Governor Ravi's performance was not pleasant and publicly accused him of interfering in the activities of the democratically elected government.
The article in the DMK daily carried that “RN Ravi was appointed Governor after retiring from police service. Intimidation styles may work in the police department, but he should realise that it will not go well in politics.”
It also recalled how media persons had unanimously boycotted the farewell programme organised by the Nagaland government for the Governor of the state.
Although the DMK has spoken up against the Governor only now, its allies were opposed to RN Ravi's appointment. The Indian National Congress (INC), Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK), and the Left parties opposed his appointment claiming that there was an ulterior motive in sending him to Tamil Nadu. A former IPS officer and a supporter of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, Ravi was accused of pushing the RSS-BJP agenda in Nagaland during his tenure.
PRESSURE TO EXEMPT NEET
In his Republic Day speech, the Tamil Nadu Governor said that public school students were increasingly enrolling in medical colleges after the exam came into effect. This is contrary to findings and also popular belief, which is that there is little scope for poor, marginalised and public school students under the NEET.
While protests were being organised demanding the Governor to forward the NEET exemption Bill to the President, his pro-NEET comments were unexpected and shocking.
The State Platform for Common School System (SPCSS –TN) organised a one-day fast on January 30 urging Governor Ravi to immediately forward the Bill passed by the Assembly to the President.
Educationist and general secretary of the SPCSS Prince Gajendrababu accused the Governor of Tamil Nadu of acting against the overall wellbeing of the people of Tamil Nadu, against the federal philosophy, and against the Constitution.
The ruling DMK and its allies the Communist Party of India, Communist Party of India (Marxist), Congress, and VCK participated in the protest.
DMK GOVT’S INDIRECT PROTEST?
Chief Minister Stalin and Governor Ravi shared minimum pleasantries when they met once after the Republic Day event to pay floral tributes to Mahatma Gandhi on his death anniversary in Marina Beach, Chennai on January 30.
However, suspicions have risen about whether the DMK-led government is holding indirect protests. When RN Ravi arrived at the venue and deboarded his vehicle, the song “long live Dravidar, long live Dravida nation” was sung. Whereas, when the CM arrived, the song “long live Mahatma Gandhi, love live Bharat” was sung.
Is the state sending indirect messages to the Governor?
The Governor’s response to the article in the DMK’s daily and such indirect protests is awaited. His response will decide whether the political arena will heat up in Tamil Nadu or the situation will cool down.
Souring ties between the constitutional head of the state and the head of the elected government cannot be good for the state. However, such cold wars are visible in other non-BJP ruled states as well, particularly in West Bengal and Telangana.
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