Chennai: A day after the DMK threatened to intensify its protests against Governor Banwarilal Purohit’s district visits, the Raj Bhavan today said he “enjoys unhindered freedom” to interact with officials and said such visits would continue in future.
Referring to the “siege Raj Bhavan” protest held by the DMK in Chennai on Saturday, the Governor’s office in a statement cited a legal provision providing for seven years imprisonment to those “inducing or compelling” the Governor of any state to “exercise or refrain from exercising” in any manner any of the lawful powers.
The DMK led by its working president MK Stalin had staged a protest in Chennai on Saturday, demanding Mr Purohit’s resignation and said the party would intensify the protest if he continued to hold review meetings in the districts.
“In the capacity of Governor being head of the executive, he enjoys unhindered freedom to meet and interact with officials of the state, who are members of the executive wing,” a statement from the Governor’s office said.
Mr Purohit had faced protests during his visits to some districts in recent months with DMK workers showing black flags, alleging that he was interfering with the state’s autonomy. This charge, however, has been rejected by the Raj Bhavan as well as the ruling AIADMK and the BJP.
On Mr Stalin’s comments that the Governor was “holding review meetings in every district like a Chief Minister,” the statement said use of the word “review” by the leader of the opposition was an attempt to “mislead the people.”
“He (Stalin) is either ignorant of the law or attempting to overawe by threatening to besiege Raj Bhavan or block the roads leading to Raj Bhavan,” the statement said.
The Governor has the right to take decisions at critical times and for being able to send “monthly reports” to the President, the statement said, adding, he should be familiar with the features of the districts and problems of people.
Defending Mr Purohit’s visits, Chief Minister K Palaniswami told reporters in Salem that in a democratic country, one could not say that such visits should not be undertaken.