New TN Governor Purohit swears to go by the book. Will he be different from Rao?
Banwarilal Purohit, a veteran politician from Vidarbha with vast experience as MP and MLA, took as the Govenor of Tamil Nadu on Friday with a promise that he would strictly go by the Constitution and ensure transparency in the administration.
Purohit, the 25th and the first full-time Governor of Tamil Nadu since the retirement of K Rosaiah in August 2016, told reporters after assuming charge that all his decisions would be “according to the Constitution and with no political considerations”.
He said “I will support the government as far as government activities are concerned” and ”There will total transparency in governance”.
Madras High Court Justice Indira Banerjee administered oath of office to Purohit at the Raj Bhavan. The function was attended by Chief Minister Edappadi K Palanisami and his Cabinet colleagues as well as Leader of the Opposition MK Stalin.
Purohit’s assurance that he will go by the Constitution has come at a politically volatile time in Tamil Nadu with the Opposition demanding a floor test to ascertain the Palanisami government’s majority, a demand his predecessor Ch Vidyasagar Rao had dodged.
Welcoming the new Governor, Stalin said, "We believe he will not function like the Governor in-charge (Rao). We believe he is well aware the government has lost its majority. We are confident that he will take appropriate steps in this regard." He said the DMK had approached the court seeking direction to the Governor to order for a floor test “after we lost confidence in the previous Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao”.
Many hope Purohit comes as a change from Vidyasagar Rao who presided over the most turbulent period in the state after the death of Chief Minister J Jayalalitha last December. Initially, he went by the rule book as he had to swear in three Chief Ministers in a matter of months. But some of his actions came under the scanner. For example, to get over a Constitutinal crisis and get the administration going, he facetiously claimed that he got Jaya’s assent for reallocation of her portfolios after her hospitalization when he visited the Apollo Hospital in October last year. She was critical and unconscious at that time. In fact, no one had access to Jaya during the entire 75 days she was in hospital.
His most controversial decision was forwarding over to the Speaker letters from19 legislators belonging to the rebel TTV Dinakaran camp informing him that they had lost confidence in Chief Miniser Edappadi K Palanisami. The Speaker disqualified them on the basis of these letters.
Purohit will have time to assess the political situation as the disqualification issue is before the Madras High Court.
Unlike Rao, who was with the BJP right through, Purohit went from Congress to the BJP in 1991 during the Ram Mandir movement.
Purohit,77, has been a three-time MP from Nagpur, twice on a Congress ticket and once as a BJP candidate.
He entered the Maharashtra Assembly for the first time in 1978 from the Nagpur East. He was re-elected in 1980 from Nagpur South and became a minister in 1982.
In 1984 and 1989, Purohit was elected to the Lok Sabha from the Nagpur-Kamptee seat and was a member of the Parliamentary Consultative Committee on Defence.
He was re-elected to the Lok Sabha in 1996 and served as a member of the Parliamentary Consultative Committee on Home Affairs, a member of the Standing Committee on Defence, and a member of the Public Sector Undertaking Committee.
Purohit’s family-owned business house revived The Hitavada, an English daily founded by Gopal Krishna Gokhale.
Purohit has come from Assam where he was Governor from August 2016