Coimbatore: Governor Banwarilal Purohit on Tuesday held review meetings with the district officials here and posed probing questions on pressing problems and possible solutions. In the process, he also triggered an animated debate if he had overstepped the Constitutional limitations placed on a Governor with some politicos insisting he indeed has done so. The general public, however, seems to like Governor Purohit's Kovai outing.
And it would be wrong to draw comparison with what Kiran Bedi was doing in neighbouring Puducherry as Constitution gave the Lt Governor in Union Territory vast powers akin to a CEO. Governor Purohit does not enjoy that kind of luxury, yet he chose to step out of the conventional gubernatorial garb to undertake what he believed would help the people.
The Governor arrived here for participating in the convocation ceremony of Bharatiar University in the morning. Later in the evening, at 3 pm to be precise, he held his review meeting with the district officials, including the collector, city corporation commissioner and police commissioner, besides other senior officials. Collector TN Hariharan gave a power-point presentation on the ongoing projects and programmes.
The Governor also threw open his doors to any 'willing' political parties to meet him, but it appears that the sulking and suspicious politicos chose to stay clear-barring the minister S.P.Velumani and S.R.Balasubramaniam, MP (AIADMK) who spent less than 20 minutes with him. But several prominent local citizens and NGOs met the Governor and shared views on the happenings in not just the city and the western region but also the entire state.
Governor Purohit is spending Wednesday too in this region, participating in a green programme organised by a farmers' collective at nearby Tirupur and launching mass planting of saplings.
Presiding over the University convocation and planting of saplings were alright but holding review meetings with officials was improper, insisted nervous politicos seeking to hide behind the so-called conventions and Constitutional limitations.
The police took six members of the Thanthai Periyar DK when its leader Ramakrishnan tried to lead a march to the Circuit House, where the Governor was staying, to protest against his “attempt to overstep his Constitutional brief and interfere in the affairs of an elected government”.
Taking strong objections to Governor Purohit's 'unconventional' schedule in Coimbatore, CPI (M) G.Ramakrishnan said, “This only proves, yet again, that the government here is under the control of the BJP and is acting as its handmaiden”.
Minister D. Jayakumar slammed the Opposition for making politics out of Governor Purohit's good intentions in undertaking the review at Coimbatore.
“There is nothing wrong with what the Governor did. It's for the people”, he said at a public meeting at Chennai late evening.
The public, too, seemed happy with the Governor's initiative to take interest in the administration, even if that seemed 'unconventional'. Many recalled that when he took charge as Governor on October 6, he had promised “to ensure cleanliness in administration” - a statement that seemed loaded as the state was reeling under charges of corruption and poor administration.
“We only hope the Governor holds similar review meetings in all districts and also with the Ministers and officials here in Chennai”, said noted rights lawyer Sudha Ramalingam. “We, the people, are convinced there is no point in merely paying blind obeisance to the Constitution; we must honour its spirit by delivering clean and efficient governance”, she said.
“There is a system of checks and balances and there is nothing wrong in the Governor getting to have first-hand knowledge of how the administration is going on”, she said.