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Understanding Kerala’s Pinarayi Vijayan govt vs Governor Arif Mohammad Khan issue over universities

New Delhi, Nov 30: The Kerala government today decided to move a Bill in the legislative assembly, when it convenes from December 5, for replacing the Governor with eminent academicians as Chancellor of the universities in the state. A draft Bill in this regard was approved by a cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan here during the day.

Now once again Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan is in the news due to the ongoing deadlock with the Left Front Kerala government on several issues including the appointment of vice-chancellors in various universities. If we look at this issue, the main reason behind it is some decisions of the Kerala government regarding higher education, which the governor has refused to sign into an ordinance or a bill.

The Governor of Kerala sought the resignation of the Vice Chancellors of 9 universities on the basis of the Supreme Court’s cancellation of the appointment of the Vice Chancellor of APJ Abdul Kalam Technical University citing violation of UGC rules. In response to this, the Kerala government has removed the Governor from the post of Chancellor of Kerala Kalamandalam Deemed University by amending the rules, accusing the Governor of running the RSS agenda. 

“It  has been made clear from this action that by accusing Governor Arif Mohammad Khan, the Left Government of Kerala wants to implement its own agenda by making its own people sit on the post of Chancellor and Vice Chancellor,” says Abhishek Gupta, political analyst and columnist.     

“Arif M Khan is tirelessly taking decisions one after the other and is making the state government realize the importance and power of the governor’s chair. All the while setting an example for the rest of the governors,” Gupta adds.

Earlier, Kerala higher education minister R Bindhu made it clear that the left government would convene an Assembly session and bring out a legislation if Governor Arif Mohammed Khan was not prepared to sign the ordinance stripping him of the role of chancellor of universities in the state. “If he (Governor) does not sign the ordinance, we can convene the House in December and bring out a legislation in this regard,” Bindhu said. Asked about the Governor’s reported statement that he would refer the controversial ordinance to the President of India, the Minister said he has all the right to do that.

 However, some recent Kerala High Court orders have vindicated Khan’s stand on the appointments of VCs of certain universities.

Arif Mohammad Khan, a 4 time MP, held the post of minister in the center twice in different tenures. However, he is in the limelight for his statements regarding reforming the religious views, especially for speaking openly against the wrong views of his community.  “When His Excellency Arif Mohammed Khan, who has been the Governor of Kerala for 3 years, says that “if a single political appointment had been made by me, the government should tell, I am ready to resign” then actually one gets a glimpse of the firmness of his personality,” says Abhishek Gupta. 

“It is true that from the present central governments to every government, there have been allegations of obstructing the functioning of the governments of the opposition parties running in the states, the same is happening in the case of Kerala, but the Raj Bhavan has been opened for the general public. The person who is trying to improve education, stopping the promotion of liquor and lottery in the state, should be seen above party politics,” he adds.


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