Madhya Pradesh Governor Lalji Tandon speaks to Milind Ghatwai on the fall of the previous government and the Raj Bhavan’s role in the Covid-19 crisis
What is your comment on the Opposition allegation that you played a role in toppling the previous government?
(I don’t think) any party has levelled such an allegation against me, even if they have, it’s not my job to give justification. I exercised my constitutional powers in the situation that developed then. Instead of taking certificates from anyone, I will refer to the endorsement from the Supreme Court. The judgment will become exemplary. I took unbiased steps in a transparent manner. I am accountable to the Constitution and the people. I am not answerable to any political party for exercise of my powers.
Was the Covid-19 challenge not serious enough that you ordered a floor test?
The Covid-19 challenge was not serious for the state then. The Union government issued guidelines when the crisis became real. There were not many cases in the state then. There was no government in place (in MP) to anticipate the seriousness of the crisis and take steps. I took the first steps. The CM (Shivraj Singh Chouhan) restored order after taking oath.
How serious is the Covid-19 challenge now?
Wherever Covid cases appear, it’s taken seriously. It’s true that many cases have been reported in MP, but the number of active cases is declining. On one hand, people are getting infected but on the other, the percentage of those recovering has increased. But it’s not a matter of satisfaction because the virus is appearing more and more. Efforts are on to control the situation.
What role has the Raj Bhavan played in the crisis?
When discussion on its seriousness and how to stop the spread began, there was effectively no government in place for many days. That’s why nobody in the (Congress) government took it seriously. I had called principal secretaries of health, transport and civil supplies, among other departments, and the DGP to Raj Bhavan and reviewed the situation in the days after then CM’s (Kamal Nath) resignation and swearing-in of new CM (Chouhan).
I had prepared a plan keeping in mind the needs of the disadvantaged class. I had spoken to religious heads and voluntary organisations and requested them to help the needy. Raj Bhavan’s decision to prepare food packets sent a message to the society that it should also do its bit. The most prominent activity was to use universities to create awareness. Constant interaction with vice-chancellors and students’ preparation for online syllabus ensured that the examinations can be held immediately when the state government permits…
When should the next academic session begin? Will it be possible to maintain social distancing in colleges and universities?
The word impossible does not exist in my dictionary. We are prepared to begin the next session according to UGC guidelines. Everything will begin on time. Corona has changed the society’s thinking. Self-discipline and the PM’s appeal is showing a miraculous effect.
What are your suggestions for lifting the lockdown?
It’s everybody’s responsibility to stop the spread of Covid-19 Lockdown can’t remain in force forever, it will have to be lifted with precautions. We will have to create awakening for development by adopting swadeshi. The country listens to the PM who keeps inspiring by giving messages…
What is the solution to the migrant workers’ crisis?
The government provided help and asked them to stay where they were. They were given three months’ ration in advance and money was deposited in their accounts. On their request, special trains and buses have been deployed. It’s an appeal to them to stay where they are. Because it’s a social problem, mill owners and workers will have to follow rules.
Do you think ayurveda is more effective to fight coronavirus than allopathy?
For thousands of years, we have been using jadi-booti to build immunity. It’s not a big deal to follow it. People drink tea many times during the day. What’s wrong if they also consume giloy (ayurvedic herb) potion?
What lifestyle changes will have to be made to live with coronavirus?
People who were never into yoga have adopted it. We will have to replace handshakes with namaskar… There is no vaccine yet for corona. We will have to avoid crowding, maintain social distancing, wear masks and wash hands regularly.
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