Telangana Guv defends ‘Praja Darbar’, says want to act as a bridge

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Telangana Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan on Friday defended her action in receiving representations from people by holding ‘Praja Darbar, saying she wants to act as a bridge between the state government and the public.

Soon after holding the maiden ‘Praja Darbar’ as ‘Mahila Darbar’ at Raj Bhavan to hear the grievances of women, she dismissed the criticism that she is crossing her limits.

She argued that when she as the highest Constitutional authority in the state is willing to serve people, why should she be denied the opportunity.

The Governor, who received over 500 petitions from women, did not agree that it amounts to running a parallel government.

“This is a Constitutional office. I am practising only what should be practised by a Constitutional authority,” she said.

“Those saying it is unconstitutional should first respect the Constitution,” the Governor said when asked about the statements by leaders of ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) describing her action as unconstitutional.

“I repeatedly said that I want to be a catalyst, a bridge between the government and the people. There is no politics in this. I can’t agree that Raj Bhavan should be shut or it should not be approachable. Each and every office, whether Constitutional or elected, is for the people,” she said.

“Some of the critics say how Raj Bhavan can conduct this (Praja Darbar). Every office is for the people, whether it is of panchayat president or member or the Constitutional office of Governor. When I have the capacity of meeting the people and when I can communicate and get the message from people and convey it to the government, why should there be any objection,” she asked.

“I am not a controversial person and I want to do something good for the people of Telangana. I am a doctor and I can understand the problems of people,” she added.

She reiterated her allegation that the state government is not respecting the Constitutional office of the Governor, alleging that the government is not following the protocol.

“They are not receiving me wherever I go. There is an SOP to be followed but it is not being followed. However, this is not going to stop my activities. I am not asking anything for myself. When people are affected, the government should respond,” she said.

Replying to a query, Tamilisai said she had sought a report in two days from the state authorities on the recent incident of gang-rape of a minor in Hyderabad, but the same has not been submitted yet.

She termed the delay as unfortunate and added that she is concerned over the media reports about the incident.

“I always respect a democratically-elected government. It should also respond and respect the Constitutional authority. You know the powers of a Constitutional authority. I am not asking anything for myself,” she said.

The Governor said she chose to start ‘Praja Darbar’ as ‘Mahila Darbar’ because she first wanted to hear the unheard voices. She said the recent incidents of sexual assault on minor girls and women in Hyderabad are one of the reasons for starting the programme with women.

“When the woman holding the highest Constitutional office in the state is not getting respect or response, I can imagine the fate of the downtrodden,” she said.

Tamilisai urged the government to respond and respect whatever messages are sent through Raj Bhavan based on the representations received from the people.

The Governor said Friday’s ‘Mahila Darbar’ had participants from the Red Cross, doctors, lawyers and NGOs to respond to the applications.

“No application will be ignored. For smaller monetary help, referral to hospitals or institutions, they will be handled by the office of the Governor, but I request the government departments concerned to respond to the other requests received by the Raj Bhavan during the Praja Darbar,” she said.

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