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Banwarilal Purohit Sworn in as Tamil Nadu Governor Amid AIADMK Crisis

Maharashtra Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao had been given additional charge of the state since September 2016 before Kovind appointed Purohit as Governor of Tamil Nadu.


Updated:October 6, 2017, 12:22 PM IST
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Banwarilal Purohit Sworn in as Tamil Nadu Governor Amid AIADMK Crisis
Banwarilal Purohit's appointment as the Tamil Nadu Governor comes at a crucial time when the AIADMK government is engaged in a bitter power struggle. (File photo)

Chennai: Banwarilal Purohit was on Friday sworn-in as the 25th Governor of Tamil Nadu, taking over at a time when the state is witnessing political turbulence in the ruling AIADMK and demand by the opposition for a floor test.

Chief Justice of Madras High Court, Justice Indira Banerjee, administered the oath of office to Purohit, a former Governor of Assam at a ceremony at Raj Bhavan here.

Taking oath in the name of God, Purohit said he would "faithfully execute the office of governor of Tamil Nadu and will to the best of ability preserve, protect and defend the Constitution and the law and that I will devote myself to the service and well-being of the people of Tamil Nadu."

Chief Minister K Palaniswami, his cabinet colleagues, and DMK Working President and Leader of Opposition in the Assembly M K Stalin, were among those present.

Senior BJP leaders including Union Minister Pon Radhakrishnan were among those present.

Earlier, Chief Secretary Girija Vaidyanathan read out the Warrant of Appointment issued on September 29 by President Ram Nath Kovind, appointing Purohit as Governor of Tamil Nadu.

The first full-time Governor to be appointed since the completion of term of K Rosaiah in August 2016, Purohit, an experienced campaigner, has his task cut out as the Opposition DMK has already expressed that he would act on their plea for a floor test in the wake of the Palaniswami government being reduced to a "minority" following the August 22 revolt by 19 MLAs owing allegiance to sidelined AIADMK leader TTV Dinakaran against the Chief Minister.

Maharashtra Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao had been given additional charge of the state since September 2016 before Kovind appointed Purohit as Governor of Tamil Nadu.

DMK Working President and Leader of Opposition, MK Stalin, who had earlier welcomed Purohit's appointment, had expressed confidence on Thursday that the new Governor would "take appropriate action" on its plea for a floor test of the AIADMK government.

"We believe he will not function like the (previous) Governor in-charge (Rao). We believe he is arriving here to be sworn-in as Governor, well aware of the present political situation in Tamil Nadu and that its ruling dispensation has lost majority," Stalin, who participated in Friday’s swearing-in of Purohit as Governor, had said on Thursday.

"We are, therefore, confident that he will for sure take appropriate steps in that regard," he had said in an apparent reference to opposition demands for a floor test of the Palaniswami government.

He said the DMK had approached the court seeking direction to the governor to order for a floor test of the Palaniswami government "after having lost confidence" in Rao.

Earlier, Rao had come under criticism from DMK for not ordering the floor test as demanded by it after the 18 MLAs, now disqualified, had expressed lack of confidence in the chief minister.

While originally 19 MLAs had revolted against Palaniswami, one of them later switched over to the faction led by the Chief Minister.

Tamil Nadu Speaker P Dhanapal had disqualified the 18 MLAs last month.

Following the August 22 revolt by 19 AIADMK MLAs, the opposition, including DMK, made a beeline to the Raj Bhavan seeking the governor's intervention. They had repeatedly urged Rao to direct a floor test of the Palaniswami government, contending that it had "lost its majority."

The Opposition had knocked the doors of President Kovind with a similar plea.

Dinakaran had also later called on the Rao with a plea to remove Palaniswami as chief minister.

While the DMK has moved the Madras High Court seeking a direction to the governor for the conduct of the floor test, the disqualified legislators have also petitioned the court against the speaker's action.

Purohit, appointed last week amid growing calls for a full-time governor for the state, has been involved in social, political, educational and industrial fields in Vidharbha in Maharashtra. He plunged into active politics in 1977 and entered the Maharashtra Assembly for the first time in 1978 by winning the Nagpur East seat.

He is also credited with revival of 'The Hitavada', an English daily founded by Gopal Krishna Gokhale, the mentor of Mahatma Gandhi.

Following the completion of Rosaiah's term, Vidyasagar Rao was given additional charge of Tamil Nadu in September 2016, days ahead of then Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa being hospitalised.

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| Edited by: Sanchari Chatterjee
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