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'Centre's Puppet': Govts Take on Governors in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, & Telangana

Why are governments in three southern states opposing their Governors?

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The tussle between the Governors of three southern states and their respective state governments is gaining momentum, as regional parties look across party lines to take on the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) alleged influence on the Governors' offices.

Several protests against the Governors have been planned by the ruling parties in Kerala, Telangana, and Tamil Nadu.

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Here is the latest in each state:

Kerala: State Cabinet has decided to bring in an ordinance to remove Governor Arif Mohammad Khan from the post of Chancellor of universities. 

Telangana: Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan has flared up fights on two fronts. First, by “poking her nose” in Tamil Nadu and stating that the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam's (DMK's) top political family has Telugu roots. She also invited criticism from Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao's Telangana Rastra Samithi (TRS) over recruitments in state universities.

Tamil Nadu: Apart staving off from the Telangana Governor’s statements, Tamil Nadu government is also fighting against state's Governor RN Ravi, and trying to get him removed for "acting against the Constitution". 

Here’s all you need to know about the governor vs government row.

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Kerala Governor vs LDF Government

The tussle between Arif Mohammad Khan and the Left Democratic Front (LDF) government has now culminated into the state Cabinet deciding to bring in an ordinance to remove Khan from his post of Chancellor of universities.

He will be replaced by experts academicians, the Cabinet has decided on Wednesday, 9 November. Ironically, the Ordinance need the Governor's nod to be promulgated.

This comes just a day after, Khan's legal advisor, Jaju Babu, and standing counsel of the Chancellor of universities, MU Vijayalakshmi, submitted their resignations.

In the letter, neither of them specified why they were quitting, but said, their resignations are “for reasons known to you also."

Khan also elicited protests from journalists, after he recently expelled reporters of Malayalam TV channels – Kairali and Media One – from his press briefing at Ernakulam, claiming they were biased towards the Pinarayi Vijayan government.

Kerala's journalists' body slammed him for "undemocratic behaviour," adding he had barred journalists earlier too. Journalists under the banner of the Kerala Union of Working Journalists, on Wednesday, marched in protest to the Governor's residence.

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Tamil Nadu Governor vs DMK Government

The ruling DMK has urged President Droupadi Murmu to sack governor RN Ravi, claiming that he violated the oath he took under the Constitution.

The DMK-led Secular Progressive Alliance (SPA) took exception to Ravi "praising Sanatana Dharma" and accused him of "instigating communal hatred." The memorandum dated 2 November was submitted to the President's office, the DMK informed on Tuesday, 8 November.

There are 20 Bills pending RN Ravi's assent in Tamil Nadu. In April, DMK leaders had also protested against Ravi for not sending the NEET Exemption Bill to the President after it was passed twice in the state Assembly.

Instead of forwarding the NEET Bill to the Rashtrapati Bhavan, Ravi "usurped the powers of the Honerable President and questioned the wisdom of the Legislature and returned the Bill, which is ultra vires of the powers conferred on a Governor," the DMK memorandum read.

"Tamil Nadu is a paradise where people from different religions, languages, and castes live peacefully. The TN Governor Thiru (Mr) RN Ravi has developed an unfortunate propensity to publicly profess his lack of faith in the secular ideals of this country and frequently engages in divisive rhetoric. This is an embarrassment to our government which has utmost commitment to the secular ethos of this nation," the memorandum added.

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Telangana Governor Takes on TRS Government

Meanwhile, Telangana Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan, a former BJP leader from Tamil Nadu, commented that the DMK’s first family’s mother tongue was Telugu and they were only pretending to be Tamils.

Responding to Soundararajan's remark, DMK mouthpiece Murasoli said:

"Telangana Governor should not do politics in Tamil Nadu. This is not her job. Let her resign and do politics in Tamil Nadu."

Soundararajan is also under fire in Telangana from CM K Chandrashekar Rao's TRS over recruitments in state universities.

Soundararajan summoned the state's Education Minister Sabitha Indra Reddy to discuss a common recruitment board for all 15 state universities in accordance with University Grants Commission (UGC) rules.

She asked why vacancies have not been filled even after several reminders were sent in the last three years.

The TRS-led state government had sent a Bill to the Governor – one of eight pending with her – that would allow direct recruitment to teaching and non-teaching posts, except in medical university, for her approval. Her refusal to sign it, led Telangana university students to call her a "puppet of the Centre."

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Topics:  Telangana   Tamil Nadu   LDF 

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