Banwarilal Purohit to be sworn in as TN Governor tomorrow

PTI Chennai | Updated on January 08, 2018

Banwarilal Purohit will be sworn in as the 25th governor of Tamil Nadu tomorrow amid political turbulence in the ruling AIADMK and persistent demand by the opposition for a floor test for the K Palaniswami government.

Purohit, a former governor of Assam, will be sworn in tomorrow at 9.30 am, a Raj Bhavan communique said.

The government bade farewell to Maharashtra Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao, who had been holding additional charge of Tamil Nadu since last year, as Purohit arrived in the city today amid heavy rains.

Rao had come under criticism from principal opposition DMK for not ordering the floor test as demanded by it after 18 MLAs, now disqualified, had expressed lack of confidence in the chief minister.

His year-long tenure in Tamil Nadu was marked by a series of significant developments including the demise of AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa in December, 2016, and the swearing in of two chief ministers in the span of two months.

Purohit was received by Chief Minister K Palaniswami and his deputy O Panneerselvam at the airport. Assembly Speaker P Dhanapal and state ministers also welcomed him.

He later received a police guard of honour.

Earlier, Palaniswami and Panneerselvam bade farewell to Rao at the airport. He left for Hyderabad by a special flight.

Purohit will become the full-time governor of the state after the retirement of K Rosaiah in August 2016.

Purohit, appointed last week amid growing calls for a full-time governor, was a public personality inseparably involved in social, political, educational and industrial fields of Vidarbha in Maharashtra.

He plunged into active politics in 1977 and entered the Maharashtra Assembly for the first time in 1978 by winning the Nagpur East seat.

He is also credited with revival of ‘The Hitavada’, an English daily founded by Gopal Krishna Gokhale, the mentor of Mahatma Gandhi.

Following the completion of Rosiah’s term, Rao was given additional charge of Tamil Nadu in September 2016, days ahead of Jayalalithaa being hospitalised.

His stint saw a split in the ruling AIADMK after O Panneerselvam revolted against the party leadership days after resigning as the chief minister in February this year.

Following this, Palaniswami took over.

Later, the rebel faction headed by Panneerselvam merged with that of Palaniswami with the former being made the deputy chief minister.

Following the August 22 revolt of 19 AIADMK MLAs owing allegiance to sidelined AIADMK leader T T V Dhinakaran against Palaniswami, the opposition, including DMK, made a beeline to the Raj Bhavan seeking the governor’s intervention.

They had repeatedly urged Rao to direct a floor test of the Palaniswami government, contending that it had “lost its majority.”

Dhinakaran had also later called on the governor with a plea to remove Palaniswami as chief minister even as 18 MLAs owing allegiance to him were disqualified by Speaker Dhanapal last month.

One MLA had switched sides to the Palaniswami camp.

While the DMK has moved the Madras High Court seeking a direction to the governor for the conduct of the floor test, the disqualified legislators have also petitioned the court against the speaker’s action.

The DMK, which has already welcomed his appointment, today expressed confidence he will “take appropriate action” on its plea for a floor test of the AIADMK government.

Responding to reporters’ queries on Purohit, DMK Working President M K Stalin said “we believe he will not function like the Governor in-charge (Rao).”

“We believe he is arriving here to be sworn-in as Governor, well aware of the present political situation in Tamil Nadu and that its ruling dispensation has lost majority,” Stalin, also the Leader of Opposition in the Tamil Nadu Assembly, said.

“We are, therefore, confident that he will for sure take appropriate steps in that regard,” he said in an apparent reference to opposition demands for a floor test of the Palaniswami government.

He said the DMK had approached the court seeking direction to the governor to order for a floor test of the Palaniswami government “after having lost confidence” in Rao.

Stalin expressed confidence of securing a favourable verdict in the case, adding such a verdict would augur well for the people of the state.

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Published on October 05, 2017
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