Governor insulted nation by boycotting national anthem: Speaker Appavu

January 09, 2023 07:32 pm | Updated January 24, 2023 12:21 pm IST - CHENNAI

M. Appavu

M. Appavu

Assembly Speaker M. Appavu on Monday said Governor R.N. Ravi had insulted the entire nation by leaving the Assembly premises even before the national anthem was sung. The Governor did not even utter the name of the architect of the Constitution, B.R. Ambedkar, during his speech, he said.

“The tradition so far has been that if the Governor comes to the Assembly to deliver a speech, he would remain there till the end, and rise when the national anthem is sung,” Mr. Appavu said, while addressing the media.

The prepared speech of the Governor was sent to him on January 5, and it was accepted on January 7, Mr. Appavu said, adding, “As you may have noticed, the Governor left out many parts of the speech, and also included some fresh parts.”

When asked whether the Raj Bhavan insisted on any changes to the prepared speech, the Speaker said, “The speech was prepared by the government, and was accepted only because no change was needed. If a change was needed, they should have made a request and the government would have acted on it.”

Pointing out that Articles 175 and 176 of the Constitution provided for the right of the Governor to deliver his speech in the State Legislature, Mr. Appavu said Dr. Ambedkar was the head of the Constituent Assembly which drafted the Constitution.

“You see how hurtful it is to see that he [the Governor] did not even utter the name of Dr. Ambedkar. He could not accept the Dravidian Model,“ he said.

“As per the Constitution, he is the head of State, and he should be a role model to others. Even in the past, he has, on many occasions, behaved in a manner contrary to the Constitution. He should avoid all this. He is holding an honourable position. The Governor has been making statements in the public sphere....a secular country as a religious country,” Mr. Appavu said.

He pointed out that the President only reads out the speech prepared by the Union government led by Prime Minister. “She reads it out verbatim. When the Bills are moved by the Union government and adopted in Parliament, the President gives assent the very next second,” the Speaker said.

The resolutions or Bills being sent by the BJP-ruled States were being given assent promptly, but that was not the case with States not ruled by the BJP, including Tamil Nadu, he said, and listed pending Bills such as those against online gambling and NEET.

“I wonder whether the Governor’s actions are intended to satisfy the Union government. West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankar raised several issues with the State government and eventually became the Vice-President. So, I don’t know whether there is an interest [in Governor Ravi] in becoming the Governor of Bihar or others..,” he said.

According to him, those favouring the Union government have been accommodated as members of the Rajya Sabha or as Governors of States.

“I wonder whether such actions [of those holding these positions] would be honoured accordingly. Only their conscience could answer whether it is appropriate for them to hold such positions and act in this manner,” he said.

To a query whether the Governor had powers to cancel the resolution adopted in the House, Mr. Appavu said, “How can anything be done like that? A resolution has been adopted by elected legislators by a majority; how can anyone cancel it? No one can.”

When asked whether there would be any changes to the motion of thanks to the Governor’s address to the House, the Speaker said there was no change, and that he won’t do anything that went against the Assembly’s traditions or the Constitution.

“Only political parties have to decide. As it was there for everyone to see, he [Governor] behaved indecently. I would have been happy if he had stood for the national anthem before he left. I see this as an insult to the entire nation. This is a huge offence,” he said.

When asked if such incidents may recur next year, and whether such a resolution was the only solution to the issue, the Speaker said in a lighter vein: “Won’t you let the Governor correct himself? Are you saying he should repeat this? What will you do if he goes on to become the Chief Ministerial candidate in Bihar?”

Elaborating on the greatness of Tamil Nadu, Mr. Appavu said: “Do you know the history of Tamil Nadu and how many people have sacrificed for Tamil Nadu? How can he say ‘don’t call it Tamil Nadu anymore’? If Prime Minister replaces Ravi with some parrot [kili], let it come and sit. What can we do?”

According to him, no one in the Tamil Nadu government had spoken against the Governor so far.

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