Kerala Governor Slams LDF Again, CPI(M) Alleges Conspiracy to Topple Govt
Kerala governor Arif Mohammed Khan (left) and chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan. Image credit: R Prakash.
Kerala governor Arif Mohammed Khan again lashed out at chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan and his Left Democratic Front (LDF) government during a press conference in the state capital on Monday.
Breaking conventions, Khan shared video clips of him being allegedly heckled at a Kannur University event in 2019 and his correspondence with the CM on the functioning of universities with the media.
Accusing Vijayan’s private secretary KK Ragesh of preventing the police from arresting those who heckled him at the Indian History Congress at Kannur University, Khan released old video clips of the event which are already in the public domain except for one where Ragesh is seen mediating between the police and the hecklers.
The governor had earlier repeatedly alleged that renowned historian professor Irfan Habib tried to attack him during the event. Habib had stood up from his chair to object to his comments supporting the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.
During the press conference, which lasted for more than two hours, Khan claimed that later during his visit to Delhi, a senior government official had informed him of an intelligence tip-off regarding the protest planned during his visit.
The governor also alleged that the hecklers had come prepared with placards to protest against him. But one of the videos shared by him showed the protestors making placards at the venue. When it was pointed out that Ragesh was walking towards the audience, the governor asked, “Why did he want to speak to the protestors? Who is he and why did he go away from the dais?”
The governor claimed that criminal cases can be taken up any time when the media asked why allegations regarding an incident which happened in 2019 are being made now.
Refusing to explain the background of his meeting with Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat in Thrissur on September 17, the governor not only expressed his gratitude to the RSS but also praised the right-wing organisation. He had refused to speak to the media after meeting Bhagwat.
The CPI(M) leadership had condemned the meeting and questioned the governor’s interference in governance. CPI(M) Rajya Sabha member questioned the Khan-Bhagwat meeting.
When questioned about the escalating tensions with the state government and the Bhagwat meeting, Khan said, “I have met him before and will meet him if he comes to Kerala again.”
The governor went on to elaborate his association with the RSS since 1986 and the “help extended” by the organisation to him. “Is RSS a banned organisation? I have addressed six important meetings of the RSS in the past. What is unusual? Do I not have the right to have friendship with RSS? RSS has consistently supported me.”
Khan also claimed that former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had invited the RSS to participate in the Republic Day parade in 1963 though the government has no records to support the claim.
Kerala’s former finance minister TM Thomas Isaac alleged that the BJP is using governor’s office to destabilise the state government.
Reacting to the governor’s allegation that the CPI(M) follows a foreign ideology, the party’s state secretariat member Puthalath Dineshan alleged that the “RSS political ideology and organisational structure have been adopted from the German Nazis and the Italian Fascists”.
Former CPI(M) state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, who had earlier alleged a conspiracy hatched at the Raj Bhavan to topple the LDF government, took a jibe at the governor and accused him of acting in desperation after his ambition did not materialise apparently pointing to the recent vice-presidential elections).
Khan had claimed that Vijayan had sought personal favours in appointing the vice-chancellor (VC) of Kannur University and had threatened to make their correspondence public. However, the letters he shared with the media were only official communication and contained nothing to substantiate his allegations.
The LDF hit back at the governor and called him “unfit” to hold the constitutional office. Several LDF leaders, ministers and peoples representatives ridiculed his actions as “unwarranted, immature and politically motivated”.
Alleging illegalities in the appointment of faculty members of universities, Khan had stayed Ragesh’s wife’s appointment to Kannur University alleging nepotism despite the state government and the higher education department making it clear that the appointment was made as per rules.
LDF leaders, including state secretary of the Communist Party of India (CPI), also slammed the governor for his recent actions.
During a recent press conference, Vijayan had lashed out at Khan for “spreading false news” on V-C’s appointment. Former law minister AK Balan said that the appointment was approved by the High Court.
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