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Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit today held discussions with top district officials here, weeks after a similar exercise in Coimbatore drew flak from the DMK and others, who claimed that it amounted to an interference in the state's rights. The governor also undertook a cleanliness drive at the old bus stand and the Palayamkottai localities here, sweeping the area with a broomstick and removing garbage.
Officials, including District Collector Sandeep Nanduri and those from the city corporation, also took part in the drive. The governor, who was here in connection with the convocation of the Tirunelveli-based state-run Manonmaniam Sundaranar University, interacted with the public and distributed pamphlets among them on the cleanliness drive. He told the elders not to use plastic and advice the youngsters in this regard. The elders should be role models for the youngsters in keeping the city clean, he added. Later in the evening, Purohit held discussions with Nanduri and other senior officials at the government circuit house here, officials said. The governor's visit to Coimbatore on November 14-15 had kicked up a political row with the DMK and many other opposition parties objecting to him holding a meeting with the district officials. They had claimed that Purohit's action infringed on the state's autonomy, a charge rejected by the governor's office and also by Chief Minister K Palaniswami and several of his ministerial colleagues, besides the state unit of the BJP. DMK working president M K Stalin, leaders of the Congress, CPI(M), CPI, PMK and even deposed AIADMK deputy chief T T V Dhinakaran had flayed the governor for holding the meeting. Stalin, who is the Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly, had alleged that this was an attempt by the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre and the governor to "take away the authority vested by the people" in an elected government. Denying the charges, the governor's office had last month said the purpose of Purohit's meeting in Coimbatore was to seek a first-hand input on various welfare and development schemes and programmes and their implementation. Dismissing the opposition parties' charge that Purohit was acting at the behest of the Centre as a "figment of imagination", his office had said he would continue to hold such meetings in the future. During his visit here today, Purohit is also scheduled to meet the public and listen to their grievances. A release from the collector's office said those who wanted to meet the governor could do so between 6 PM and 7 PM. The governor met people's representatives, political party members and those from voluntary organisations, it said. Purohit is scheduled to visit neighbouring Kanyakumari district tomorrow and hold discussions with the officials there.