DMK leader M. Karunanidhi on Wednesday questioned the claim of Tamil Nadu Governor Vidyasagar Rao that the reallocation of portfolios to Finance Minister O. Panneerselvam had been made as per Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s advice.
On Tuesday, a release from Governor Vidyasagar Rao’s office said all the portfolios held by Ms. Jayalalithaa were to be shifted to Mr. Panneerselvam on the advice of the Chief Minister. While some political leaders welcomed the decision, including DMK’s Stalin, Mr. Karunanidhi, PMK leader S. Ramadoss and DMDK leader Vijayakanth sent strongly worded statements wondering if she had indeed any role to play in the decision.
Dr. Ramadoss asked how the Chief Minister was able to give her approval when she was receiving passive physiotherapy and was not in a position to move her hands and legs. “The Governor has the duty to explain to the people of Tamil Nadu how it happened. Otherwise, they will view the government with suspicion,” he said.
In a statement, Mr. Karunanidhi said it was a surprise that the portfolios were allotted with her consent when even the Governor, Chief Minister of Kerala, Union Ministers and AICC vice-president Rahul Gandhi were not allowed to see Ms. Jayalalithaa. “Some people doubt whether the Chief Minister really signed the files for approval,” he said.
Mr. Karunanidhi said even though it was a belated arrangement, it was acceptable as it would facilitate proper administration.
“At the same time, one cannot ignore the question whether the Governor could go through all aspects of the Constitution in a short span before giving his consent for the changes,” he said.
Dr. Ramadoss said if the medical bulletins issued by the Apollo were taken into consideration, the Chief Minister was not in a position to offer any advice to the Governor.
The PMK leader said the AIADMK had the right to rule the State for the next five years as it had secured a majority in the 2016 Assembly polls and anyone from the party could function as a Chief Minister or interim Chief Minister. “But everything should be done as per the Constitution. The Government should not play into the hands of those who want to run the administration as per their whim,” he said.
Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) leader Vijayakant, who had hitherto maintained a silence on the Chief Minister’s health, on Wednesday said the Chief Minister should come out with an explanation about her health instead of taking action against those who had posted messages about her health on the social media and hospital employees.
“Twenty-one days have passed since she was admitted to the hospital and the hospital authorities have made it clear that she needs to stay longer in the hospital. When there is no progress in her health, the government had announced the allocation of her portfolios to Mr. Panneerselvam,” he said.