Soundararajan, who will complete two years in the post this September, has shared an unfriendly relationship with the government since the beginning, accusing it of not respecting her office and violating protocols whenever she visits a part of the state. She has claimed that ministers and senior administration officials such as district collectors and police officers are usually not present during these visits.
Though the grievance box is the latest point of conflict between the two sides, the situation took a bitter turn last August when Soundararajan rejected the nomination of former Congress leader P Kaushik Reddy as a Member of the Legislative Council under the governor’s quota despite Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao, popularly known as KCR, backing the move. The CM did not get into a war of words with Soundararajan and nominated Reddy as MLC under the MLA quota after almost four months.
But KCR stopped visiting the Raj Bhavan, which he used to do during ESL Narasimhan’s tenure, and skipped official functions and programmes, including the Republic Day function. Soundararajan too delivered a Republic Day speech that, breaking with tradition, was neither shown to the government nor approved by it, said a minister. Ministers in the government also refuted her claim, made in the speech, that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had sanctioned medical colleges for the state.
On March 3, the government decided not to invite the governor to address the joint sitting of the legislature for the Budget Session, which was to start four days later. While it is the tradition for the Budget Session to begin with the governor’s address, Legislative Affairs Minister V Prashant Reddy said that since the Monsoon Session was not prorogued, the governor’s speech was not needed.
“It works both ways, right?” said senior T Srinivas Yadav. “Give and take respect. One cannot be a BJP leader and the governor at the same time.”
Sources said the government was initially peeved with the governor over the grievance box. “The government does not mind the governor visiting hospitals or checking on the progress of the vaccination drive. But when politically loaded statements are made that align with the party she belongs to then it is not cordial anymore,’’ said a TRS leader.
Srinivas Yadav said the governor cannot call press conferences and make political statements. “As a lady governor, we have the utmost respect for her. But the statements and allegations she makes are irresponsible and hurt us. If she wants to criticise us as a BJP leader then she has to be that, not a governor. The recent utterances that it was difficult to work with the Telangana CM are uncalled for,” he added.