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Kerala: LDF Holds Big Rally Against Governor’s Bid to ‘Destabilise’ Higher Education

Neelambaran A |
Yechury, other leaders, accuse Centre for trying to pit Governor’s office against non-BJP ruled governments to “push RSS/BJP agenda”.
A massive rally was held towards the Raj Bhavan against the governor’s action by the LDF and higher education protection forum

A massive rally was held towards the Raj Bhavan against the governor’s action by the LDF and higher education protection forum

Thousands of people took part in the ‘Raj Bhavan March’ called by the Left Democratic Front (LDF) and the Higher Education Protection Forum (HEPF) in Thiruvananthapuram, against the Kerala governor’s “persistent interventions” in the functioning of state universities.

Speakers in the public meeting held after the march, accused Governor Arif Mohammed Khan of acting at the behest of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its organisational mentor Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

The LDF leaders called for a course correction from the Governor, asking him to stay away from interfering in the powers of the elected government, while raising alarm on the dilution of federal principles by the BJP regime at the Centre.

The LDF and the HEPF had given the call for a march to the Governor’s office against Khan creating a “crisis in the state-run universities in his capacity as the Chancellor.”

Presiding over the public meeting, B Iqbal, former Vice Chancellor, University of Kerala, and leader of the HEPF accused the Governor of acting on his “whims and fancies” instead of working together with the pro-VCs and VCs to improve the quality of higher education system in the state.


This rally and march is organised to express the concerns of the public on the actions of the Governor. The Governor must be ready for course correction”, he said.

Lauding the LDF government for “achievements” since 2016 in general and higher education, Iqbal said the Governor should abide by his constitutional mandate.

Since 2016, the LDF government has been fuelling massive development in the higher education sector. When more progressive steps are being executed, the Governor, as the Chancellor, is pushing the sector into a crisis”, he said.

The LDF leadership claimed that more than one lakh people participated in the rally, cutting across political affiliations, to protect the state’s higher education sector.


Addressing the rally, Sitaram Yechury, the general secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), which is leading the LDF, said: We are facing a peculiar and unhealthy situation affecting Indian democracy”, adding that the office of the Governor was "being pitted against the governments" in non-BJP ruled states in matters involving universities in order to implement BJP-RSS agenda of converting India into a "fascistic Hindutva rashtra" by controlling education and consciousness of the youth.

Pointing out to BJP’s policies aimed at saffronising the education sector, the CPI-M leader said: “The Union government's fascist policies aimed at bringing the higher education sector under its stranglehold should be resisted”.

Non-BJP-ruled states, such as Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Telangana have amended the laws to minimise the role of governors and chancellors of the universities to ensure smooth administration.

Tiruchi Siva, DMK leader and Rajya Sabha MP, addressing the rally.

Tiruchi Siva, DMK leader and Rajya Sabha MP, addressing the rally.

Yechury accused the Union government for “using” the Governor to saffronise the higher education system in Kerala.

We have a robust system, leading to several achievements on par with countries in Europe. The BJP wants to destroy this and has weaponised the governor’s office to achieve this”, he said.

Communist Party of India (CPI) state secretary, Kanam Rajendran, demanded that the Governor should function as per the powers entrusted in him by the state legislature.


The “unilateral” approach of the BJP-led Union government on policies affecting the powers of state governments was also raised by LDF leaders.

The attempts to implement the National Education Policy (NEP) in 2109 was opposed by CPI(M) in Rajya sabha, but the BJP brought the law during the COVID-19 pandemic”, Yechury said. 

Tiruchi Siva, MP and leader of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), which is ruling the Tamil Nadu government, while addressing the rally said: “Education must be brought back to the state list from the concurrent list, so that we ensure the rights of the states are ensured with more autonomy”.

CPI(M) leader T M Thomas Isaac addressing a protest meeting at Palakkad.

CPI(M) leader T M Thomas Isaac addressing a protest meeting at Palakkad.

Several leaders also criticised the attempt by BJP to impose Hindi as the national language and make India a Hindu Rashtra, “toeing the policies of RSS and demeaning federal values.”

Elected governments know the needs of the people. Who gave the powers to the Governor to challenge the decisions of elected state governments. We need a joint fight to protect federalism and democracy”, Siva said. 

The LDF has also called for more rallies and public meetings in all the district headquarters on the issue.

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