Former Punjab Governor Banwarilal Purohit pitches for country’s winter capital in Tamil Nadu

Banwarilal Purohit’s suggestion to hold a winter Parliament session in Tamil Nadu came days before he resigned as Punjab Governor

February 04, 2024 07:01 pm | Updated 08:37 pm IST - CHANDIGARH

Banwarilal Purohit, who tendered resignation as Punjab Governor on February 3, addressing a gathering during the ‘Chandigarh Tamil Sangam’ event held in Chandigarh to celebrate the ‘Pongal’ festival on January 21.

Banwarilal Purohit, who tendered resignation as Punjab Governor on February 3, addressing a gathering during the ‘Chandigarh Tamil Sangam’ event held in Chandigarh to celebrate the ‘Pongal’ festival on January 21.

Banwarilal Purohit may have resigned as Governor of Punjab, but a suggestion he made a few days ago — to hold a Parliament session at a ‘winter capital’ in Tamil Nadu — may be starting to pick up steam in political circles as the BJP continues its efforts to expand its political base in the southern State.

Before being appointed to the Raj Bhavan in Punjab, Mr. Purohit had served as Governor of Tamil Nadu from 2017 to 2021. On February 3, a day after he held a meeting with Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Mr. Purohit tendered his resignation as Punjab’s Governor and the Administrator of the Union Territory of Chandigarh.

His suggestion regarding a ‘winter capital’ — which was made during a Chandigarh Tamil Sangam event held during the Pongal festival a couple of weeks ago — is being seen against the backdrop of the BJP’s attempts in the run-up to the general election to make an inroad in the key southern State, where politics have been largely dominated by regional parties.

Also Read: 2024 Lok Sabha polls | BJP starts early, to name some candidates in February, hold jumbo meeting in Delhi

‘Let a loud noise come from T.N.’

“...For four years, I was in Tamil Nadu, enjoyed a lot, tremendous affectionate people there, culture is very rich, people are simple… Our weather here is colder, Delhi is the capital, so try to turn the key in your State so that a second capital is in Tamil Nadu. [Prime Minister Narendra] Modiji will do it as well, let a loud noise come from Tamil Nadu. Let a session [of the Parliament] in winters be there [in Tamil Nadu] and in summers, let it be here [in Delhi],” said Mr. Purohit, addressing the gathering.

Political observers feel that the Governor’s remark, coming ahead of the 2024 parliamentary election, appears to be aligned with the BJP’s ambition to expand its base in Tamil Nadu.

“It appears that the BJP is shifting the focus on Tamil Nadu in the lead-up to the general election, and the remark by Mr. Purohit is indicative of it. Such statements usually come into the public domain at the directive of top-party leadership. It could be a part of the BJP’s strategy to win over south India, as the party intends to increase its footprint there,” said Pramod Kumar, Director at the Institute of Development and Communication (IDC), Chandigarh.

Also Read: BJP not desperate for alliance, be it in Tamil Nadu or across the country, says Piyush Goyal

Integrating regional, national politics

“The move of holding a session of Parliament would certainly be a relief to the people of southern States, if there’s a session and some sort of secretariat setup over there, the people would get benefited. The politics in southern States are dominated by regional parties, and this move could be a plan for integrating regional politics into national politics. At the social, political, and administrative levels it is a good integrating move. It is an attempt to reach out to the people,” he added.

Social justice and social sector development based on affirmative action have been the foundation for Tamil Nadu’s spectacular growth in the post-liberalisation era, noted senior IAS officer, J.M. Balamurugan, who hails from Tamil Nadu and is currently serving in Punjab. “This is also the common underlying factor for comparatively greater development of southern and western States. If a second capital in Tamil Nadu happens, it will be an epoch-making move that will pull India into a much higher trajectory of growth with social justice, realise India’s vision of a seven trillion dollar economy, and put India in its rightful position as ‘Vishwaguru’ sooner,” he said.

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