CHENNAI: The tussle between the ruling DMK and the Raj Bhavan is not a mere power struggle between an elected government and the gubernatorial head of a State. The face-off has escalated into the DMK-led secular alliance’s clarion call against the right-wing BJP for the 2024 Lok Sabha election.
Chief Minister MK Stalin made it clear at the party’s ‘Mupperum Vizha’ in Virudhunagar when he proclaimed that the alliance should win all 40 Lok Sabha seats in the next Parliamentary election to undo the ‘wrongs’ of the incumbent BJP-led government, like using the Governor as parallel centres against states.
Predictably, the allies have also echoed his views. CPM K Kanagaraj, member of the State secretariat, says: “There was an element of fear at the time of Independence that a person (Governor) is needed to unite the various princely states that came together. In course of time, the Centre used Governors to ‘control’ states. The ruling BJP basically doesn’t accept states and federalism. As recently as 2019, they said that states are not needed and if necessary, they can be divided with as little as 50 lakh per State and upto 3 crore population.”
The State reorganisation committee report of 1956 proposed a State comprising the existing Maharashtra and Gujarat. When people protested, at least 119 people were gunned down, he added.
“BJP has always tried to divide states linguistically. They divided MP,
UP and Bihar on the lines that they were tribal areas. Andhra and Telangana were also divided after that. When L Murugan took over as State BJP chief, he had proposed a separate Kongu Nadu. Now the party leader l Nainar Nagendram wants a separate south TN,” pointed out Kangaraj.
Accusing the Centre of trying to divide the State by interfering in law and order, he said, “Be it Banwarilal Purohit or Kiran Bedi or Bagat Singh Koshiyari or Arif Khan or Jagdeep Dhankar, the Union government does not want state governments to exist. Their target is not just the Tamil Nadu government. The face-off with Raj Bhavan is not an individual Ravi’s approach. He’s just an arrow. However, a constitutional mechanism should be devised to reduce governor’s powers.”
Echoing similar views, State congress chief KS Alagiri said that governors were acting as agents of the Union government against a State government. Alagiri, who led a rally towards Raj Bhavan recently, said, “A government elected by the people was supreme. And the nominal head of the State has no business furthering a political agenda of the ruling BJP.”
A few days ago, the DMK party mouthpiece Murasoli hit out at Governor RN Ravi saying that he must not behave like an agent of the Centre. If he continued to do so, he’d face the same embarrassment like his Telangana counterpart Tamizhisai Soundararajan, it warned.
That the DMK has taken the rift with the Governor to power-change at the Centre is proof that the root of the problem lay in the ideological position of the BJP and not an individual occupying the Raj Bhavan.
The Union government does not want state governments to exist. Their target is not just the Tamil Nadu government. RN Ravi is just an arrow — K Kanagaraj, CPM’s State secretariat member