Exactly fortnight after Tamil Nadu Chief MK Stalin brought and adopted a resolution against Governor RN Ravi for his reckless conduct of skipping key points from the government's address in his customary speech to the assembly, an event that happened in the Kerala Assembly has turned heads for what the political observers say the effect of the precedent set by MK Stalin.
On January 9, the Tamil Nadu Assembly convened the first session of the year with the Governor's customary speech. As a tradition, the Governor would read out the address prepared by the state government. However, Governor Ravi skewed from the speech and went on to skip key portions from the speech, which sparked turmoil in the assembly. Governor Ravi was accused of refraining from reading the phrases of Dravidian Model and from reading out the names of leaders Ambedkar, Periyar, Annadurai, Kamarajar, and Karunanidhi.
The DMK has also accused of making additions to the speech and after his speech, Chief Minister MK Stalin brought the resolution against Governor Ravi and to remove the additions he made from the assembly records. After knowing that the DMK government has moved to pass a resolution against him, Governor Ravi walked out of the assembly even before the official wind up of the first day's session. The faceoff between Ravi and MK Stalin wrote a new history as it was the first time that a sitting Governor walked out of the assembly in Tamil Nadu's history.
As the Governor and the DMK government have been locking horns since Ravi took the office, he was already under attack for advocating that Tamil Nadu should be called Tamilagam. As both of them are not in good terms, Ravi's conduct against Tamil Nadu has come under public scrutiny and the growing protests against Ravi had troubled the Union government as the central-ruling BJP was also flayed at the backdrop of the Governor's conduct. Governor Ravi visited Delhi twice in a week concerning the ongoing issue and he finally gave a clarification to put an end to the friction over his claim of calling Tamil Nadu as Tamilagam.
Like Tamil Nadu, its neighbour Kerala is also witnessing the tug-of-war between the state government and Governor Arif Mohammed Khan amid a national trend that the Governors of non-BJP ruling states are in a posture of crossing swords with the state governments. The states like Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Telangana are witnessing high voltage exchanges between the Governors and the Chief Ministers. When MK Stalin passed a resolution against Governor Ravi made national headlines, it has also set a precedent to break that national trend.
As Arif Mohammed Khan is clashing with Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, it was expected that Khan would go against the Kerala government's speech of attacking the BJP government. However, Governor Khan clinged to every word of the address prepared by the Kerala government including the phrases that directly slammed the BJP regime. On Monday- January 23, exactly a fortnight after Stalin passed a resolution against Tamil Nadu Governor Ravi, Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan stuck to the speech prepared by the Kerala government in his policy address to the assembly.
In his address, Khan criticised the central BJP government for its bid to curtail the state's borrowing limits, to encroach into the legislative space of the states and to include off-budget loans without the ambit of the state's overall borrowing limits. Khan also read out the state government's concern over press freedom saying that some instances of curtailing the freedom of the press in different ways are emerging in some parts of the country.
By citing that the constitutional values are presently facing many challenges, Governor Khan said, "Hegemonic tendencies in religious, linguistic, and other arenas hamper building of a robust democracy, which respects diversity for strengthening its unity. " "Freedom of the press is a cardinal feature of every strong democratic society. Free and fair media activities are to be protected. Some instances of curtailing the freedom of the press in different ways are coming up in some parts of the country. My government is always committed to protect the freedom of press", Khan added.
Khan further said, "While fiscal discipline has to be enforced in right earnest, there cannot be different yardsticks for state governments, which are not made applicable to the Union government." "I am happy to note that the concerted efforts taken by my government in improving the investment atmosphere of the state have started bearing fruit. My government took several path-breaking initiatives to transform the investment atmosphere to a business-friendly one. Due to the progessive initiatives of the state government, Kerala has improved its position in the 'Ease of Doing Business' rankings", Khan further added.