Tamil Nadu Governor R.N. Ravi walks out of House as Chief Minister M.K. Stalin objects to deviation from speech

After Mr. Ravi deviates from the approved text in his address to the House, Stalin moves resolution to retain on record only the printed version of the Governor’s address

January 09, 2023 12:29 pm | Updated January 11, 2023 05:46 pm IST - CHENNAI

Tamil Nadu Governor R.N. Ravi walks out of the Assembly after difference of opinion with the Chief Minister M.K. Stalin, on the speech made by the Governor in the Assembly, at Fort St. George, in Chennai, on January 9, 2023. Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Tamil Nadu Governor R.N. Ravi walks out of the Assembly after difference of opinion with the Chief Minister M.K. Stalin, on the speech made by the Governor in the Assembly, at Fort St. George, in Chennai, on January 9, 2023. Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

In an unprecedented face-off, Governor R.N. Ravi on Monday abruptly walked out of the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly as Chief Minister M.K. Stalin disapproved of his selective deviation from the approved text of the Governor’s address to the House and moved a resolution to take on record only the transcript distributed to the members.

Trouble began in the first Assembly session of the New Year after Mr. Ravi skipped a paragraph containing references to certain national and regional stalwarts and the term “Dravidian Model of governance”.

Objecting to Mr. Ravi’s action, soon after Speaker M. Appavu read out the Tamil translation of the Governor’s tabled address, Mr. Stalin moved a resolution to retain on the Assembly records only the printed and approved speech copy that was presented to the members of the House earlier. He urged that portions “inserted” or “omitted” by the Governor in his oral address should not be part of the records.

Also Read | Full text of the prepared speech of T.N. Governor R.N. Ravi

The paragraph number 65 skipped by Mr. Ravi read: “Following the principles and ideals of stalwarts like Thanthai Periyar, Annal Ambedkar, Perunthalaivar Kamarajar, Perarignar Anna and Muthamizh Arignar Kalaignar, this government has been delivering the much acclaimed Dravidian Model of governance to its people.”

However, elsewhere in his speech, he mentioned “Kalaignar” denoting former Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi. He also made certain remarks extempore.

The Governor also did not read a reference to the management of law and order situation because of which, “Tamil Nadu continues to be a haven of peace and is attracting numerous foreign investments and is becoming a forerunner in all sectors”.

Speech was prepared by government, approved by Governor: CM Stalin

Describing the act of the Governor as “very sad and against the tradition of the Assembly”, Mr. Stalin pointed out that he omitted portions of “the speech prepared by the State government and approved by him [Mr. Ravi]”.

“We conducted ourselves in a manner to accord full respect to the Governor who came to the Assembly to deliver his address as per the Constitution. But he acted not only against our ideology, but also against the government by not reading the speech prepared by the government and approved by him,” Mr. Stalin said while moving a resolution seeking to relax Assembly Rule 17 to retain in the House records only the printed speech in English and its Tamil version read by the Speaker in its entirety.

The Chief Minister told the House that the speech was prepared by the government and the printed version was distributed to the members only after the Governor gave his nod.

“Though the Governor was functioning totally against the Dravidian model of government and it was unacceptable to us, we did not record our opposition as we are in the government,” he added.

As Mr. Stalin was speaking, the Governor, who is not conversant in Tamil, was seen asking his secretary as to what the Chief Minister was saying in the House. Upon learning that the House was about to move the resolution, a visibly agitated Mr. Ravi quickly paced out of the Assembly hall without waiting for the proceedings to conclude. He left before the resolution was adopted and the National Anthem was played.

The resolution, which also sought not to take on record certain extempore references and omissions by the Governor, was later adopted by the House.

Governor disrespected National Anthem: Minister Thangam Thennarasu

Briefing journalists after the proceedings, Industries Minister Thangam Thennarasu said the prepared speech was sent to the Governor on January 5 and he gave his approval on January 7. “It (Governor’s action in the House) is unacceptable because he not only deviated from the speech approved by him, but also refused to make references to the leaders including Dr. [B.R.] Ambedkar, the architect of the Indian Constitution,” he said. 

Minister for Industries Thangam Thennarasu addresses journalists on the first day of Assembly session in Chennai on January 9, 2023, minutes after Governor walked out from the Assembly session.

Minister for Industries Thangam Thennarasu addresses journalists on the first day of Assembly session in Chennai on January 9, 2023, minutes after Governor walked out from the Assembly session. | Photo Credit: RAGU R

Mr. Thennarasu also accused the Governor of “disrespecting” the National Anthem by walking out of the House before it was played. 

Earlier in the day, the legislators of the Congress and the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) — both allies of the ruling DMK — staged a walk-out shouting slogans hailing “Tamil Nadu” in response to the Governor’s recent remarks that “Tamilagam” would be a more appropriate name for the State of Tamil Nadu.

They also charged that the Governor was responsible for the deaths of those who allegedly lost money in online gambling since he has not given his nod to the Bill banning online gambling.

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