Rama Krishna Sangem
Knowingly or unknowingly, Governor Dr Tamilisai Soundararajan has entered Telangana’s politics. Her two day tour – April 6 and 7 – to Delhi sparked off an open battle between the Governor and Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR) led TRS government in the State. She launched an open attack on KCR and his ministers and officials for not showing her due protocol and respect in the last few months.
With this open attack, Dr Tamilisai joined the likes of Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankar who openly fights with CM Mamata Banerjee there. Dhankar, like Tamilisai, is a professional (lawyer) turned politician, who played a role in bringing down then VP Singh government at the Centre and made Chandrasekhar as the PM over three decades ago. The Modi government purposefully sent Dhankar to Bengal.
Tamilisai is not a seasoned politician like Dhankar, but her comments that the KCR government was fast losing support among people, which is a direct political attack on the elected government. As per the Article 154 of the Constitution, Governor is the head of executive power the State. Article 163 says, the Council of Ministers headed by Chief Minister shall aid and advise the Governor in exercise of her/his functions.
Technically, by saying that the KCR government has become unpopular among people, Tamilisai is admitting that her own government is unpopular in Telangana. But, ironically, the Constitution hasn’t given any power to change the CM, who is elected by the majority MLAs in the Assembly. The limitations imposed by Article 163 say that a Governor has other go but to follow the advise of the Cabinet in place.
That is the crux of the issue. The government has no big say in appointing someone to the Legislative Council under the Governor’s quota – in this case, Padi Koushik Reddy. Still, Tamilisai has kept the file with her long and compelled the CM to make Reddy an MLC through MLAs quota. She says, Reddy, an active politician doesn’t fit be a nominated MLC, under service sector.
Minister and TRS working president KTR has questioned the very appointment of Tamilisai as Governor, straightaway from Tamil Nadu BJP president post. Some videos on social media on April 8, pointed out to PM Modi’s old speech questioning appointment of politicians as Governors – according to the Sarkaria Commission recommendations. Tamilisai has no explanation to this.
Tamilisai has openly said that she has complained against CM KCR and his government’s functioning. She even mentioned that she could have caused dissolution of the assembly by withholding a file summoning the budget session for 15 more days – that violating the constitutional norm that there shall not be a gap of 6 months between two sessions. Of course, the courts would have intervened in such a scenario and restored the assembly, that’s a different story.
But, the real import of the entire controversy appears to be mix of personal with professional by the Governor. Tamiisai’s complaint that the CM hasn’t called up to express condolences on her mother’s demise is a case in point. But, there is no constitutional provision or breach of protocol on such occasions. That only shows the personal bonding between the Governor and the CM. We all know that it is not there now.
Tamilisai’s next moves are going to be news making. She will start Praja Durbars and take up more visits to districts and meetings with people. Of course, the ruling party will retaliate her attacks. Already, ministers KTR, Jagadeswar Reddy, Satyavathi Rathod and Indrakaran Reddy have refuted the Governor’s charges and made counter attacks saying that she was acting like a BJP leader.
Interestingly, PCC president Revanth Reddy on April 8 made allegation that Union Minister Kishan Reddy and BJP state president Bandi Sanjay too haven’ t attended Ugadi celebrations hosted by the Governor at Raj Bhavan apparently to please CM KCR. We don’t know, how they will respond to this charge. Already charged politics of Telangana have further electrified with the entry of Governor Tamilisai, as a player!