The first, brief session of the Tamil Nadu Assembly for the year began on a stormy note with the DMK and ally Congress boycotting newly appointed Banwarilal Purohit’s maiden address.
As soon as the Governor began the address by extending New Year and Pongal greetings to members, DMK and Congress members walked out, saying that the Governor was giving legitimacy to the minority government by reading out the address prepared by it.
Leader of the Opposition and DMK working president M K Stalin said that the Election Commission, while deciding in the symbol case had clearly said the Edappadi Government had only 111 MLAs in a House of 234 and the Governor, instead of asking the Chief Minister to face the floor test, had given legitimacy to this regime by reading out the address.
Stalin also accused the Governor of undermining the authority of the elected government by going round the state and directly interacting with officials.
The Congress also staged a walkout. Its floor leader A Ramasamy said that the Government was yet to say how many fishermen died in the recent Okchi cyclone and how many were missing. While Defence Minister Nirmala Sitaraman had said that the search and rescue operation by the navy and the air force had come to an end from Dec 26, the Governor in his address had said it was continuing.
The Governor, in his address, thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for visiting Kanyakumari to console families of fishermen who had lost their lives. He also lauded the rescue and relief steps taken by the State and the Centre.
Contrary to the stand taken by former Chief Minister J Jayalalitha, the present regime lauded Central Government schemes. For example, the Governor said that Uday scheme had helped the State electricity board to cut loses. Likewise, the Prime Minister’s crop insurance scheme also helped distressed farmers.
The Governor asked the Centre to set up the Cauvery Management Board and regulatory authority, a long-pending demand of the State.
He welcomed the Union Water Resources Minister’s support for diverting surplus water from Godavari through Krishna- Pennar-Palar- Cauvery link so as to realise 125 TMC feet of water at Grand Anicut across Cauvery. He said, "I am confident that this initiative will give a major stimulus to our effort in interlinking of peninsular rivers."