‘They help me appreciate good work’
Ignoring the Opposition’s criticism that he was trampling upon State autonomy by conducting meetings with government officials, Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit on Wednesday defended undertaking “reviews” (of works), saying such meetings helped him appreciate good work. Mr. Purohit said he would visit all districts in the State to learn about the schemes the local administrations were implementing.
The Governor had on Tuesday held a meeting with the Coimbatore Collector, the City Police Commissioner, the Corporation Commissioner and other officials for two-and-a-half hours without the presence of Ministers, triggering a political row.
Raj Bhavan officials had described it as a “familiarisation” meeting.
On Wednesday, Mr. Purohit inspected a toilet constructed at the Gandhipuram Bus Stand as part of the Swachch Bharat Mission. Later, addressing residents of an apartment in Coimbatore, he appreciated the clean toilet and said some were asking why the Governor was undertaking reviews.
The reviews helped him ascertain whether the officials are doing good work, whether they are dedicated and whether they are mingling with the people, he said. “…Only after reviewing, I can appreciate (a work),” he added.
Mr. Purohit, who hails from Maharashtra, said he undertook such reviews even when he was the Governor of Assam and Meghalaya.
“From there I have been shifted to this place,” he said, indicating that he would need to familiarise himself with the State.
Backing the Governor, Animal Husbandry Minister Udumalai K. Radhakrishnan contended that it was “normal protocol” to wish the Governor during his visits. “That is why the Collector and other senior officials met him and we are also here. It is part of already existing practice,” he said.
Local Administration Minister S.P. Velumani claimed that everyone was happy with the Governor’s visit. “When he came here, he saw the Gandhipuram flyover and was happy. He asked about the Central government schemes. He has assured that he will ensure Central government support to such schemes,” Mr. Velumani said.
However, Cooperation Minister Sellur K. Raju said the AIADMK government would never give up its autonomy. “The people of the State who voted for us are our bosses. Whatever the people require, we will fulfil them. That is our main aim,” he said.
Mr. Raju alleged that it was the DMK which gave up the State’s authority on various issues and had succumbed to the Centre’s pressures when they were in power.
“They were the ones who were acting like slaves to the Centre. The AIADMK will never give up the State’s rights,” he added.
Sulur AIADMK MLA R. Kanagaraj too said that there was nothing wrong in the Governor interacting with officials or reviewing projects. In fact, it was good that the Governor was doing so, since it would help in course correction wherever necessary.