Is Tamil Nadu BJP not happy with Governor Ravi?

Is Tamil Nadu BJP not happy with Governor Ravi?

BJP leaders, in private, say the Governor has helped the DMK divert attention from issues like corruption.

Tamil Nadu Governor R N Ravi. Credit: PTI File Photo

“As far as the Tamil Nadu is concerned, the Governor (R N Ravi) is already campaigning for us,” Chief Minister M K Stalin said mockingly on Monday, reacting to the raids by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on his colleague K Ponmudy. 

On the face of it, this might look like a political statement, but Stalin said in public what was being murmured, rather grudgingly, in the state BJP circles for the past few weeks. The Tamil Nadu BJP believes the Governor, through his out-of-turn remarks and actions that turn into controversies, is indirectly helping the ruling DMK rather than “putting the government in the dock.” 

TN BJP chief K Annamalai indirectly advising Governors that they shouldn’t be talking politics as it would lead to a “wrong precedent” reflects the thought within the state unit that it is becoming increasingly difficult for it to defend Ravi’s actions.

BJP leaders, in private, say the Governor has helped the DMK divert attention from issues like corruption through his “unilateral decisions” and “political statements,” not once but several times. 

Also Read | Stalin dials Ponmudy, assures DMK's backing to take on BJP's 'political vendetta'

Pointing to the Governor “dismissing” minister V Senthil Balaji at a time the BJP was keeping up the heat over corruption on the DMK, a leader told DH: “In one stroke, he snatched the issue (from the BJP) and turned it to the advantage of the DMK.”

“From corruption, the focus turned to federalism and states’ rights. It helped the DMK indirectly. Now, there is no noise about Senthil Balaji’s continuation in the Cabinet,” a senior BJP leader told DH

This was not the first time that the Governor’s actions or statements had caused embarrassment to the BJP and helped the DMK gain political mileage, another BJP leader said. He said the DMK government was facing a lot of questions from activists and political parties on faecal matter being found in an overhead tank at a colony in Pudukottai district when Ravi waded into the Tamil Nadu vs Tamizhagam controversy. 

“That was an unnecessary statement, and the Governor went on to avoid the state government’s emblem in an official invitation which helped the DMK turn him into a villain and take up their favourite topic of federalism, state rights, and target the BJP. This is how his actions have been putting us on defensive mode while we want to be on the offensive,” the second leader added.

The developments come at a time the BJP is trying to localise its state unit by raking up issues of Tamil pride, culture, and literature, almost toeing the line of the Dravidian parties in opposing “Hindi imposition.” The party has stayed away from talking about Hindutva and other issues that it usually rakes up in other parts of the country as part of a careful strategy to make inroads into Tamil Nadu. 

“At this rate, the DMK, which openly demands his recall, would secretly want him to continue,” the first leader added. 

Senior journalist R Bhagwan Singh said Annamalai’s statement that Governors shouldn’t wade into politics was not just “startling but stinging too.” 

“A person of Ravi’s caliber, background, and cadre ought to know that he cannot take hasty decisions. The Governor has turned into an embarrassment for the BJP, especially after the Senthil Balaji incident. Annamalai’s statement is a stinging criticism on the Governor’s functioning,” Singh added. 

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