Telangana Governor Resigns, Likely To Contest Lok Sabha Elections From Tamil Nadu

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Telangana Governor Resigns, May Contest Lok Sabha Polls As BJP Candidate

Telangana and Puducherry Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan resigned from both posts Monday morning. Sources told NDTV Ms Soundararajan – the leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Tamil Nadu unit before her governorship – is expected to contest the 2024 Lok Sabha election.

Ms Soundararajan, 62, was sworn in as the then-fledgling Telangana state’s second Governor in November 2019, and was given additional charge as Lieutenant-Governor of Puducherry in February 2021. She is likely to contest Puducherry’s lone Lok Sabha seat, which is held by the Congress.

Sources said the BJP feels Ms Soundararajan may have greater connect with the people of Puducherry. There is also speculation she might be fielded from one of three seats in Tamil Nadu, including the Thoothukudi seat held by the ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’s Kanimozhi.

Ms Soundararajan contested the 2019 election from this seat but was handily beaten. She also contested the Chennai (North) seat in 2009 and lost that as well; to TKS Elangovan of the DMK.

She also contested the Tamil Nadu Assembly thrice – from Radhapuram in 2006, Velachery in 2011, and Virugampakkam in 2016. She lost all three elections – the first to the DMK and the latter two to the BJP’s ex-allies, the AIADMK, or the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam.

During her term Ms Soundararajan had several run-ins with the Telangana government when the Bharat Rashtra Samithi – whom she accused of not following protocol – was in power.

In March last year the BRS went to the Supreme Court complaining – as other non-BJP state governments have of their Governors – of delays in clearing bills passed by the legislature.

READ | Telangana Goes To Court Over Governor Allegedly Not Clearing Bills

In August Ms Soundararajan sparked a similar row after returning four bills, including one on state-run universities, public employment, and an amendment to the panchayat administration.

READ | Elected Legislators At “Mercy” Of Governors: Telangana To Court

Ms Soundararajan and former Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao have had several fierce fights over the past years, including the Governor accusing the Chief Minister of illegally tapping her phone. “An undemocratic situation is there in the state…” she declared at a Hyderabad event.

READ | “Suspect My Phone Being Tapped…”: Telangana Governor Slams KCR

Ahead of the Lok Sabha election – to take place over seven phases starting April 19 – the BJP has been active in the south, where the party has struggled. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has already made five visits to Tamil Nadu this year, where the BJP is without a major alliance partner.

READ | Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Full Schedule, Phases, And Dates

Former allies AIADMK walked out in September last year after repeated attacks by the BJP’s state unit boss, K Annamalai, on past and present leaders of the former, including its founder and ex-Chief Minister MG Ramachandran and his mentor, CN Annadurai, who was the state’s first Chief Minister.

READ | In Tamil Nadu, DMK-Congress vs BJP, Ex-Ally AIADMK In Seats Race

The AIADMK has refused the BJP’s advances so far, meaning the national party must contest all 39 Lok Sabha seats – in alliance with local parties – in a state in which it secured less than three per cent of the votes in the last election. In fact, senior AIADMK leader KP Munusamy threw down a direct challenge, daring the BJP to field Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, if it felt strong enough.

The BJP is now looking to mount an aggressive campaign under Mr Annamalai’s leadership.

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