‘How Many More Suicides?’ Stalin Slams Governor Over Delay in Nod to Bill Banning Online Gambling

Last Updated: February 15, 2023, 11:39 IST

Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin (left) said it was still a mystery as to why Governor RN Ravi (right), who signed an Ordinance banning online games, was still sitting on the Bill. (News18)

The Tamil Nadu chief minister also lashed out at the BJP-led Centre for promoting online games in the Union Budget instead of banning them

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin has hit out at Governor RN Ravi over the delay in according assent to the Bill to ban online gambling and regulate online gaming in the state.

The state assembly had approved an Ordinance for ban after an expert committee recommended the action to prevent the ill-effects of the games such as suicides and debt traps among youngsters.

The Bill needed the assent of the Governor to be enforced in the state. However, the ensuing back and forth between Raj Bhavan and the government has frustrated Stalin’s plans to have online gambling abolished.

Citing the number of suicides in the state in the last one week, Stalin questioned if the Governor was aware of them.

“How many more suicides are needed for the Governor to sign the Bill banning online gambling? The Madras High Court had directed the government to enact a legislation to ban online gaming but the Governor has insulted the state assembly that passed the Bill. It is still a mystery as to why the Governor who signed an Ordinance banning online games is still sitting on the Bill,” Stalin said.

He also lashed out at the BJP-led Centre for promoting online games in Union Budget 2022-23. “The Union Budget has proposed TDS and tax on net winnings in online games. Instead of banning online games, the Union government is recognising them,” he said.

The Opposition parties, however, blamed Stalin for the delay in the Governor’s decision.

Kovai Satyan, AIADMK spokesperson, said: “MK Stalin’s governance is filled with incompetence and inefficiencies and whenever his incompetence is exposed in public domain, he immediately passes the buck by blaming the Governor or the central government. If the laws were to be rightly framed without leaving any loophole as far as online gaming is concerned, the Governor would have immediately given his consent. The Governor had immediately called them (DMK) to give clarity.”

Satyan reasoned that the ministers should have worked on firming up the Bill, instead of blaming the Governor. “I think the ministers have not given clarity with respect to the questions asked by the Governor. Rather than stating what is being asked by the Governor and what his response was, merely blaming him and saying that he is sitting on the Bill shows the level of preparedness and seriousness this government has got towards banning online games.”

BJP spokesperson Narayanan Tirupathi also slammed the government. “When the Ordinance was in effect, why did the Tamil Nadu government not implement it? What stopped the government? Stalin has to give an explanation. When the state law minister said Governor asked for clarifications, they should give details of the clarifications and the government’s response. The chief minister has to clarify and come clean on this.”

In October last year, the state government promulgated an Ordinance prohibiting online gambling and regulating online gaming which was signed by the Governor. A month later, the state assembly passed a Bill banning online games and the Governor sought some clarification. The state law minister then said the government had responded to clarifications and is hopeful of a positive response from Ravi.

As the Bill remains pending with the Governor, it has turned into a political controversy underscoring the strained Raj Bhavan-Secretariat relations in Tamil Nadu. Allies of the DMK had staged protests demanding the withdrawal of RN Ravi as the Governor of Tamil Nadu. Meanwhile, heated developments around the Governor’s refusal to read out portions of a government-prepared speech at his address at the start of the recent assembly session has compounded matters further. In the coming months, the stand-off is expected to escalate further, say political observers.

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