How Tamil Nadu government drafted a real-time response to Governor’s address

Multiple sources in the treasury benches confirmed to The Hindu that the decision to move and adopt the resolution was taken only after DMK legislators realised that the Governor was leaving out certain parts of the speech

January 09, 2023 10:29 pm | Updated January 24, 2023 12:14 pm IST - CHENNAI

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin speaks during the first session of the year of Tamil Nadu Assembly, at Fort St George, in Chennai, on January 9, 2023.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin speaks during the first session of the year of Tamil Nadu Assembly, at Fort St George, in Chennai, on January 9, 2023. | Photo Credit: PTI

A keen observation of the proceedings in the Assembly on Monday showed that the treasury benches had sensed early on that the Governor had skipped some portions and deviated from the approved text of his customary address to the House.

A quick discussion that experienced leaders had with Chief Minister M.K. Stalin, while the address was being read out, appeared to have helped the latter draft, in real time, a resolution disapproving of the Governor’s selective deviation from the prepared text.

Multiple sources in the treasury benches confirmed to The Hindu that the decision to move and adopt the resolution was taken only after DMK legislators realised that the Governor was leaving out certain parts of the speech.

“All steps to help the Chief Minister move the resolution were taken in real time, as and when the Governor was delivering his speech in English, and during its subsequent Tamil translation by the Speaker,” a senior member of the DMK said.

During the proceedings, senior Ministers were keenly following the Governor’s address on the tablets provided to them and, at one point, Leader of the House Duraimurugan was seen walking up to the Chief Minister’s seat for a chat and stepping out briefly.

After the Governor completed his speech at 10.48 a.m., as per customary practice, Speaker M. Appavu read out its Tamil translation, and ended the speech by 11.31 a.m.

By then, Mr. Stalin had readied his unprecedented response, and rose to move a two-page, carefully-worded resolution urging the Speaker to take on record only the approved text of the Governor’s address that was tabled in the House and the Tamil translation of it.

Even before Mr. Stalin could finish reading out the resolution, Leader of the Opposition Edappadi K. Palaniswami sensed the situation and walked out of the House with AIADMK legislators.

It appeared that it was around this time that the Governor, who is not conversant in Tamil, realised that something unusual was happening, and was seen enquiring with his Secretary, and later, with one of his ADCs, regarding what Mr. Stalin was saying.

On being told about the resolution, the Governor rose from his seat and left the Assembly hall in a hurry, even as the Chief Minister was moving the resolution. He chose not to exchange a glance or a word with the Speaker, who had escorted him into the House earlier.

While some in the front row of the treasury benches wore a smirk as the Governor paced past them on his way out of the House, others raised slogans hailing the name ‘Tamil Nadu’. Moments later, three BJP MLAs (its floor leader Nainar Nagenthran was absent) shouted the slogan ‘Vande Mataram’ for a few minutes before leaving the House.

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