Thiruvananthapuram: Under attack from the Congress for his pro-CAA comments, Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan on Monday said the leader of the opposition in the state assembly has requested him not to attend the commemoration meeting for former chief minister K Karunakaran here, fearing protests.
Former congress heavyweight Karunakaran died on December 23, 2010.
Khan, who was invited by the Congress leadership for the commemoration before the Citizenship Amendment Bill was passed by Parliament, recently faced sharp criticism from the party which alleged that he was acting as a central government public relations officer.
The governor, on his official twitter handle, said leader of the opposition in the state assembly Ramesh Chennithala has requested him not to attend the function.
"I was looking forward to paying tributes to the memory of Karunakaranji, & to meet his family at today's commemoration.
But, I'd to accept organizers' request to stay away as they feared my presence may provoke unseemly protests," Khan tweeted.
Former KPCC president and MP K Muraleedharan, who is Karunakaran's son, told reporters that it would have been better if the governor was not invited for the function.
"K Karunakaran was strongly against the 'Sanghis'," Muraleedharan said.
As the protests against the governor mounted, Chennithala on Monday sent a letter to Khan asking him not to participate in the function.
"...Due to some unexpected developments, the organisers of the programme have advised that it would not be appropriate for the governor to grace the function..," Chennithala wrote.
In his tweet, Khan said he was looking forward to pay tributes to Karunakaran and invited all those who "differ" to the Raj Bhavan for a discussion.
In a series of tweets, he also said if the organisers invited him again, he shall respond positively.
"Our Democracy allows freedom of Speech & right to dissent & protest peacefully. But Democracy requires room for debate as well.
We may firmly adhere to our views, but need not shut the door to opinions different from ours," he said.
Khan had made many comments over the last week in support of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) prompting both the ruling LDF and the Opposition UDF to slam him for "being an agent of the central government."
However, unfazed by the developments and criticism, the governor said he was again extending an invitation to everyone who differed with him to the Raj Bhavan to have a debate and discussion on the matter.