December 04, 2022
TN Governor’s Duplicity towards Peasants on Constitution Day

V B Ganesan

CONDEMNING the centre’s lethargy in implementing the prime minister’s assurances given to the farmer organisations led by the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) even after a year, it called upon its units across the country to take out rallies in states on November 26 -- the day the historic peasant movement was started on the outskirts of Delhi two years ago -- and present memorandum on their various demands to governors for forwarding it to the president.

Accordingly, the SKM Tamil Nadu organised a massive rally on November 26 in Chennai to present a memorandum to the governor of Tamil Nadu and to commemorate the second anniversary of the historic peasant struggle in Delhi. The rally began from Rajarathnam Stadium in Egmore with more than 3,000 members of various peasant associations led by K Balakrishnan, coordinator of SKM, Tamil Nadu. The police stopped the marchers at the junction of Anna Flyover (near Rani Meyyammai Hall) where a public meeting was held. 

Addressing the gathering, P Shanmugam, president, Tamil Nadu Kisan Sabha, said November 26 is a historic day as on this day in 1949 the Constitution was adopted by the newly independent country. Similarly in 2020, on this day, the historic kisan movement was started against the Centre’s three farm laws on the outskirts of Delhi. Today, lakhs and lakhs of peasants will be marching across the country to present their memorandum to the president through the governors of their respective states. 

He further said that PM Modi gave many assurances to the SKM leaders and only on that basis, the kisan movement in Delhi was withdrawn. But even after a year, Modi has not fulfilled any of his assurances to the peasant leaders and charged that the country has not hitherto seen such a devious prime minister. 

He also said the secretary of the agriculture ministry of the government of India, assured the SKM leaders the Electricity Bill would not be tabled in parliament without consulting them. But in contrary to such assurance, the Bill was tabled in parliament and the BJP government is employing all tricks of the trade to make it an Act during the current session. It is to be made clear to everyone that this Act will not only affect the peasantry, it is also against all those who are using electricity for their needs in the country. 

The Tamil Nadu chief minister has written a letter to the centre urging it to withdraw the Bill. But only such request will not achieve the desired result and we request DMK as a political party to join in the struggle against the Electricity Bill, he said. 

Tamil Nadu kisan sabha general secretary, Sami Natarajan, Tamil Nadu agricultural workers’ union general secretary, V Amirthalingam, former MLA Gunasekaran, Tamil Nadu kisan sabha (CPI) general secretary P S Masilamani, Kaliyappn of People’s Power and Ponnaiah also addressed the gathering and explained the demands of the SKM.

Thereafter, a delegation of peasant leaders prepared to move towards the Raj Bhavan to present the memorandum, but police officers present at the site took them to the office of the tehsildar, Guindy instead of the Raj Bhavan. They told the leaders that the governor has not given permission to meet the peasant leaders and receive the memorandum from them. As this attitude is unacceptable to the leaders, they started moving towards the Raj Bhavan amid the rope barricades of police. At that instant, the leaders informed the media that despite the efforts of the police to settle the issue amicably, even the secretary to the governor was not willing to accept the memorandum from the leaders on behalf of the governor. 

After much tussle over the issue, it was resolved finally that the leaders will meet the public secretary of the Tamil Nadu government. Accordingly, the leaders presented the memorandum to Jagannathan, public secretary to the government of Tamil Nadu, and urged him to forward it to the governor for its onward transmission to the president.

It is to be noted here that the incumbent governor, R N Ravi, a former police officer, has become notorious for misusing his office by intervening in the affairs of the state in various ways, more notably in the sphere of education and culture, giving opinion contradictory to the Tamil ethos and spearheading the rightwing thoughts in various fora where he is participating as a constitutional functionary. Condemning this attitude of the governor, MPs of political parties barring the BJP and the AIADMK recently sent a petition to the President of India urging her to remove him from the post from where he is uttering ideas that are violative of the constitutional ethos. The Tamil Nadu governor, who has time and energy to meet and discuss with state BJP leaders whenever they want, has shown his true colours by refusing to meet the kisan leaders and accept their memorandum which further proves his ambivalent attitude in respecting his constitutional responsibilities.