Congress in Tamil Nadu on Monday said it did not want to advise the state government on the issue of appointing an acting Chief Minister or Deputy CM till the time Jayalalithaa returned from the hospital as it was the ruling AIADMK’s prerogative to decide on such matters. However, it insisted that the administration should run smoothly.
“The Governor is there, and so are the Chief Secretary and the Ministers. So if there needs to be any change, the AIADMK, which has got the majority, should do it,” Tamil Nadu Congress committee President Su Thirunavukkarasar said. Speaking to reporters after making a “courtesy call” on Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao, he said: “I don’t want to give suggestions on behalf of the Congress.”
“But the administration should run properly and so should people-related works. The Chief Secretary or ministers should focus on that,” he added. Congress ally, DMK had last week suggested that the government name an interim Chief Minister or a Deputy CM to “effectively handle” issues like the ongoing Cauvery row with Karnataka, till the time Jayalalithaa returned from hospital.
Thirunavukkarasar said he had met the Governor on a “courtesy call” but had discussed the Cauvery issue “since it is an important matter.” He said he had urged the Governor to ensure that the state officials put forth the facts properly before a visiting High Level Technical team on Cauvery issue and Rao had given an assurance in this regard.
The team was constituted by the Supreme Court to assess the situation in Cauvery Basin in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. To a query, he reiterated that the visit of party Vice President Rahul Gandhi here to enquire about Jayalalithaa’s health last week was not political in nature.
Asked if Gandhi’s visit was not informed to DMK in order to “put pressure” on the ally against the backdrop of seat-sharing talks for civic polls, he denied it and said even state Congress leaders were not informed about the visit. “Rahul Gandhi came on a private visit and to enquire about Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s health. State Congress leaders were not informed as he did not want them coming to the airport or the hospital, where the workers will also assemble and raise slogans (hailing the Congress VP),” he said.
On Saturday, Thirunavukkarasar had said Gandhi had visited the hospital on “humanitarian grounds” and out of “courtesy” to “enquire about the health of the AIADMK supremo and to offer support, if needed.”