Tamil Nadu Governor invites Stalin for tea party over phone; allies to boycott

Notwithstanding differences with the Governor, the ruling DMK is likely to participate in the reception hosted by RN Ravi at the Raj Bhavan here on Thursday on the occasion of Republic Day, even as the ruling party’s alliance partners, including Congress, have decided to boycott the events.

The Governor spoke to Chief Minister MK Stalin over the phone on Wednesday evening and invited him to attend the tea party on Thursday, amid a tug-of-war between them over several issues. The phone call also broke the ice between the Governor and the Chief Minister after the former walked out of the Tamil Nadu Assembly in a huff on January 9.

Separately, the Governor also deputed his Secretary Anandrao V Patil to meet the Chief Minister and hand over the invitation personally. “The Governor has clarified his Tamizhagam remarks and his office has also reverted to the old style of addressing him as Tamil Nadu Aalunar (Governor) in the invitation for the reception. We can’t boycott every party or event hosted by the Governor,” a government functionary told DH.

Multiple sources told DH that Stalin would attend the event or deputy senior ministers on behalf of him. A DMK leader said it is not necessary for the alliance partners to toe the DMK line always. “They can decide for themselves. They have decided to boycott the event on ideological grounds. We can’t always boycott. We are the governing party,” the leader added.

Congress, VCK, and CPI have announced that they will not attend the reception and cited the Governor “sitting on” several bills, including the one relating to a ban on online gambling, and his frequent utterances that “only reflect” the policies of the RSS and the BJP as the reasons for their decision.

K Selvaperunthagai, leader of the Congress Legislature Party, told DH that the Congress will boycott the tea party to be hosted by the Governor.

“The Governor is acting as a puppet of the BJP government which is ruling at the Centre. He is being encouraged to run a parallel government against a democratically elected government. We hope that he realizes his Constitutional duties and conforms with them,” the CLP leader said.

Referring to Governor Ravi’s speech on January 23 in which he said India’s history will have to be “rewritten”, Selvaperunthagai said such statements only show that he continues to be “the face of RSS.” “When we thought that the Governor had put an end to the Tamishagam controversy, he stoked another row by talking about rewriting history. We think he is here only to propagate the ideals of the RSS,” he said.

In his statement, VCK chief Thol Thirumavalavan referred to Ravi addressed being Tamizhaga Aalunar (Governor) instead of the standard Tamil Nadu Aalunar in the invites sent for Pongal celebrations. “We don’t believe that the Governor has changed his ideological stance. On the contrary, we believe the Governor is retracting his statement on the Tamishagam controversy as a change in BJP’s stance,” Thirumavalavan said.

The DMK and the Governor are engaged in a running battle over a host of issues, including on NEET.