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Tue. Oct 4th, 2022
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THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Wednesday lashed out at governor Arif Mohammed Khan for his recent press conference convened against the state government terming it as “unprecedented” and accused him of turning Raj Bhavan into a centre of “political conspiracy”.
There are formal channels and established norms for communication between the government and the governor, and the press conference held at Raj Bhavan was unprecedented not only in Kerala but in the country itself, he said.
The chief minister reminded that as per the Constitution, the Governor is the constitutional head of the state and the executive power is vested in the elected government.
“The Constitution stipulates that the Governor should act in accordance with the help and advice of the cabinet. The Governor is not personally responsible for any law or decision he signed and it belongs to the state government only,” he said.
Khan on Monday had held an unprecedented press conference at Raj Bhavan to release video clips of the alleged heckling against him at Kannur University in 2019 and letters sent to him by Vijayan on interference in university matters.
At the press meet, Khan had also accused the chief minister and the state government of using “pressure tactics” against Raj Bhavan and using force to silence voices of dissent.
Vijayan said there were instances of Governors of various states behaving like the agents of the Centre but there were several verdicts of the apex court and reports like that of the Sarkaria Commission which clearly suggests how a Governor should deliver his constitutional responsibilities.
It was “disastrous” to ignore such constitutional conventions and court judgements, he warned.
Alleging that the governor heaped praise and love upon the RSS throughout the press conference, the Marxist veteran said Khan should introspect whether it was appropriate to declare that he was having the support of the right-wing outfit while holding a constitutional position.
“Contrary to what the Constitution and various committees that have studied the Centre-State relations say, the Governor’s office is being made the centre of political conspiracies…that is the strong allegation which has been raised now…It is a serious matter,” he said.
The chief minister also attacked the governor for visiting RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat. “Arif Mohammed Khan can visit or meet RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat in his personal capacity but meeting him in his role as a Governor was inappropriate,” Vijayan said.
Justifying the protests that occurred against the Governor at the Indian History Congress held at Kannur University three years ago, the chief minister said Khan had made some “anti-historical” remarks in favour of the Citizenship Amendment Act which prompted some delegates to protest there.
The academic society had protested when the person who has the responsibility to protect the Constitution spoke against it, he said.
Vijayan also said eminent historian Irfan Habib and Kannur vice chancellor and historian Gopinath Ravindran had been vehemently criticised by Khan for some time as both of them were in the “hate list” of the RSS.
Both the historians had stood firm against the RSS’ saffronisation agenda in the academic sector, he said and asked how the governor could act as a tool in the right-wing outfit’s attack against them.
Alleging that the Sangh Parivar agenda was to take control of the higher education sector and thereby rewrite the history of the country in their own way, he said for them universities are just “political laboratories” for the purpose.
“Attempts are being made now to unilaterally appoint a vice chancellor in Kerala University. They are trying to do the backseat driving of the universities which are functioning with the money from the state exchequer. This is being opposed here,” he said.
Vijayan asked whether it was in accordance with the Constitution to declare before the media that he won’t sign certain bills, passed by the state assembly.
“He cannot refuse to honour the decisions of the cabinet and hold the bills indefinitely,” the chief minister said.
He also asked the governor whether it was ethical to make public certain letters written by the chief minister to him on various administrative matters.
When asked, Vijayan rejected the Governor’s allegation that he had met him directly and pressed for the appointment of Ravindran as Kannur Vice Chancellor.

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