The tussle between the government, led by M.K. Stalin, and Governor R.N. Ravi intensified after the latter rejected the Chief Minister’s recommendation to reallocate the portfolios of V. Senthilbalaji to Finance Minister Thangam Thennarasu and Housing Minister S. Muthusamy.
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In a letter to the Chief Minister, the Governor said the reason cited for the reallocation of the portfolios was “misleading and incorrect”. Higher Education Minister K. Ponmudy, who briefed media persons about the latest developments, said that had the Governor been aware of the provisions of the Constitution, he would have given approval to the Chief Minister’s recommendation.
He said that immediately after receiving the letter from Mr. Ravi, the Chief Minister wrote him another letter, saying the allocation of portfolios was the prerogative of a Chief Minister and the Governor turning down the recommendation went against the Constitution and the principle of State autonomy.
Mr. Ponmudy revealed that the Governor had demanded the removal of Mr. Senthilbalaji from the Cabinet on May 31 itself; on June 1, the Chief Minister replied to him that his demand went against the Constitution. “Only the Chief Minister, who is elected by the people, has the right to make recommendations for appointment and removal of Ministers. As per 164(1) of the Constitution, the Governor has no powers on the issue,” the Chief Minister had informed the Governor in his letter.
Mr. Stalin also drew the Governor’s attention to the continuation of Amit Shah as the Home Minister of Gujarat though he was facing cases. Moreover, he questioned why the Governor had kept in abeyance the files seeking to register cases against the former Ministers of the AIADMK government. “The Governor suppressed the Chief Minister’s letter and released only his letter. We have to deem the Governor’s act silly politics,” Mr. Ponmudy said.
Pointing out that the Governor had to act on the Chief Minister’s recommendation on the appointment of Ministers and portfolio allocation, he added that constitutionally, the Governor could not question the Chief Minister’s decision to change the portfolios. “When it is clear that facing an inquiry will not affect a Minister’s continuation in the Cabinet, it is unnecessary on the part of the Governor to raise the issue,” Mr. Ponmudy said.
He reinstated the State government’s position that the Governor was acting against the Constitution and State autonomy by interfering in the administration.