The Tamil Nadu Assembly’s first session of the year would begin on Monday with the customary Governor’s address, amid a tussle between the ruling DMK regime and the Raj Bhavan.
Against the backdrop of pendency of Bills passed by the Assembly and a war of words between Governor R N Ravi and the governing party and its allies over ideological and policy matters, the House is set to convene for a brief session. Ravi allegedly favouring the term ‘Tamizhagam’ rather than ‘Tamil Nadu’ (the official State name) is the latest in the continuing battle of words between Raj Bhavan on the one side and the ruling party and its allies on the other. The DMK and allies have taken staunchly opposed Ravi’s stand, accusing him of toeing the BJP’s ideological position. Both Tamizhagam and Tamil Nadu roughly mean, ‘The land of Tamils.’ On the Tamizhagam row, the BJP has backed Ravi. After the DMK captured power in 1967, the then Madras State was rechristened Tamil Nadu. DMK’s opposition to the National Education Policy and the Raj Bhavan betting on it are among the friction points when it comes to policy matters. Issues including opposition from farmers to the new Parandur greenfield airport project near here are expected to resonate in the House. While the standoff between AIADMK interim general secretary K Palaniswami (Leader of Opposition) and deposed party coordinator O Panneerselvam continues in the court as well, it remains to be seen if the tug of war would reflect in the House. Last year, the AIADMK had picked RB Udhayakumar as deputy leader of opposition to replace Panneerselvam and had petitioned Speaker M Appavu to make seating arrangement changes accordingly in the House. This would also be the first session after Udhayanidhi Stalin, DMK youth wing secretary and son of Chief Minister M K Stalin, assumed office as Minister for Youth Welfare and Sports Development in December 2022. The Governor’s Address, to begin at 10 AM in the Assembly building in the Fort St George premises would be telecast live. The Bills, pending with Raj Bhavan include the one prohibiting online gambling, wager-based online games of chance of Rummy and Poker. An ordinance barring online gambling was promulgated on October 1, 2022 and a gazette notification was made by the government in this regard. The Assembly met on October 17, 2022 for a brief session and a Bill to replace that ordinance was passed and sent to Raj Bhavan for assent. In total, 21 Bills (as of December 2022) were pending. DMK’s ally the CPI(M) has urged all like-minded parties to join forces to effectively oppose Ravi. A condolence resolution is set to be adopted to mourn the death of Congress MLA (Erode East) E Thirumahan Everaa, who passed away on January 4.
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