DMK condemns Raj Bhavan's 'imprisonment' warning

DMK condemns Raj Bhavan's 'imprisonment' warning

DMK Working President MK Stalin. (PTI Photo)

Condemning the Raj Bhavan for citing a legal provision for imprisonment against any attempt to 'restrain' the governor from exercising his power, the DMK has asserted that it would continue to fight to protect Tamil Nadu's autonomy.

Accusing Governor Banwarilal Purohit of indulging in "direct politics", DMK Working President M K Stalin said his party would not be cowed down by such threats (to invoke IPC section 124) by the Raj Bhavan in its statement on Sunday.

"I strongly condemn the Raj Bhavan statement and the Governor for trying to do direct politics on behalf of the DMK. The party will not run away from the responsibility and will not be cowed down by such empty threats," Stalin said in a statement last night.

His reaction came hours after the Raj Bhavan issued a strongly worded statement taking exception to the DMK's continuing protests against Purohit's district visits and the party's 'siege Raj Bhavan' stir on Saturday.

The Raj Bhavan had said the governor enjoys "unhindered freedom" to interact with officials and cited a legal provision providing seven years imprisonment to those "restraining" him from exercising in any manner any of the lawful powers.

It had also cited section 124 of IPC, which said, "whoever with the intention of inducing or compelling the President of India, or the Governor of any state... shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years."

It was an attempt to intimidate the DMK, Stalin alleged, adding the governor would realise the validity of the party's objection if he had read Article 163 of the Constitution and the orders of the Supreme Court.

Referring to the Raj Bhavan's charge that he was trying to "mislead people" by terming the governor's visits "review meetings", Stalin wondered what else could it be called.

The DMK working president said the media used the term 'review' by the Governor and it was not known whether the Raj Bhavan has issued any communication to them advising not to use the word.

Stalin clarified that the party did not hold 'black flag protests' when Purohit participated in functions as Chancellor of Universities or whenever he visited New Delhi on official work.

"DMK only protested when the governor organised a meeting of officials in districts thereby interfering in the rights of an elected government," he said.

Claiming that governors in Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal did not conduct such review meetings, Stalin said, "Since the Governor is a representative of the ruling BJP, he is playing the role of the Tamil Nadu BJP president."

"The people of Tamil Nadu and media have understood that through such review meetings, he is seeking to help the BJP's vote bank politics," Stalin alleged and asserted that the DMK would continue to fight to protect 'federalism' and the state's autonomy.

On June 23, the DMK had held a 'siege Raj Bhavan' stir demanding Purohit's resignation and had said the party would intensify its protest if he continued to hold review meetings in districts.

Ever since Purohit assumed office last year, he has been touring districts, for which he faced flak from the principal opposition party the DMK, which alleged he was holding review meetings 'like a chief minister.'

Purohit, who has defended his visits and interactions with officials had, however, said that 'review' was a word invented by the media and he had not held such meetings.