Chennai: A fresh row broke out between the Tamil Nadu Raj Bhavan and Secretariat on Monday when Governor RN Ravi refused to read out the Customary Address on the opening day of the Legislative Assembly session and eventually walked out of the House. The Governor cited reasons to explain why he would not read the address. However, the House adopted a resolution to take on record only the prepared text of the Governor’s address. Later, at a press conference, Speaker M Appavu said the remarks of the Governor and also some comment he himself had made, were “expunged”.
Subsequently, the Raj Bhavan in a press release, explained the sequence of events. It said, the Governor with due regard to the constitutional proprieties expressed his inability to read the address “as it contained numerous passages with misleading claims and facts and reading them would have amounted to Governor’s address becoming a constitutional travesty.”
The Speaker read the Tamil version of the address. The Governor sat through it.
“When the Speaker concluded the address, the Governor rose for the National Anthem, as scheduled. However, the Speaker instead of following the schedule launched a tirade against the Governor and called him a follower of Nathuram Godse and more. The Speaker with his unbecoming conduct lowered the dignity of his chair and grace of the House. While the Speaker went on his tirade against the Governor, The Governor with due regard to the dignity of his office and the House left the House,” the Raj Bhavan said.
According to the release, the The Draft Governor’s address was received at the Raj Bhavan, from the Government, on February 9. “The address had numerous passages with misleading claims far from truth. The 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. (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 Government chose to ignore the advice of Governor,” the Raj Bhavan said.
Last year too acrimonious scenes marked the Governor’s address to the House when Ravi skipped certain portions of the approved text and made some extempore references as well. At that time, in a historic first, Chief Minister M K Stalin moved a resolution urging the Speaker to take on record only the approved text of the address.
The approved text of the Governor’s address showed certain portions on the Centre-state issues could have made him uncomfortable.
The address contained passages critical of the Union Government for terminating the GST compensation regime in June 2022 “resulting in a revenue shortfall of approximately Rs 20,000 crore per annum for the Government of Tamil Nadu.” The address also expressed disappointment that amidst the State’s fiscal constraints, “the Union Government has reneged on its promise to provide its share in the Chennai Metro Rail Phase-II project.” It accused the Centre of “unfair treatment to the State” on the issue.
The address also mentioned, “This Government will never permit the implementation of Citizenship Amendment Act in our State and vows to take all necessary measures in this regard.”