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A goat needs no beard, the State needs no Governor — that was the refrain of former chief minister and DMK founder C N Annadurai, making it clear that the DMK did not approve of the post which the DMK charged was intended to curb the powers of an elected government. The DMK, in the sixties and seventies, described the Governor as an agent of the Centre who was ready to dismiss a state government at the drop of a hat.

Over time however, the DMK and AIADMK governments did accord respect to the post of Governor, and complied with statutory norms. There were several occasions when the Governor and the elected government did clash. The new Governor of Tamil Nadu, CN Ravi, is now at the centre of a controversy as is the DMK government over the Governor’s communication asking for a presentation on the government departments and schemes. The action of the chief secretary V. Iraianbu who wrote to various departments asking them to prepare a presentation for the Governor has been severely criticised by various opposition parties which condemned the Governor’s act as meddling in the affairs of the State government and trying to infringe on the latter’s powers.

Publicly, neither the chief minister, M K Stalin, nor the party has officially reacted to the developments, although a minister and a party office-bearer, not willing to be quoted, have brushed the controversy aside, and termed the governor’s move as a ‘routine exercise’, agreeing with the chief secretary.

Speculation is rife in political circles whether the Delhi visits have resulted in a thaw in the mood of confrontation between the DMK and the BJP in the last few years

This is in stark contrast to the vehement protests of the DMK and its allies in 2017 when the then governor Banwarilal Purohit made visits to several districts and sought to have meetings with officials there and held a review of government schemes. The AIADMK government then chose to play down such visits and review meetings. The opposition saw in it an attempt by the BJP to play politics in the State, and keep the state government on tenterhooks. The defensive government was pushed even more on to the back foot by such moves.

The DMK government, extremely stable, is on a strong wicket with a resounding mandate in the recent local body polls too, while there are no major charges against the government in terms of corruption or non-performance. Chief minister M K Stalin has also deputed several of his ministers to Delhi to extract commitments from Union ministers regarding the State’s demands and requests relating to State schemes, and these measures have yielded some benefits. Speculation is rife in political circles whether the Delhi visits have resulted in a thaw in the mood of confrontation between the DMK and the BJP in the last few years or whether it is mere co-operation between a state government and the union government.

While state BJP leaders are making the usual noises against the policies and approach of the DMK government, even while appreciating the odd good move of the DMK government, no union minister has been critical of the Stalin team in the recent past.

For the record, the BJP continues to be in the AIADMK-led alliance in the State, vowing to continue the same strategy for urban local body polls which could be held in the next two months. There is still time for the BJP to evolve a new strategy for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls which is what PM Modi is looking at.

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