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Its advantage LDF as fissures widen in opposition camp

Thiruvananthapuram: It's advantageous Left Democratic Front government against its Governor Arif Mohammed Khan after the Kerala High Court refused to give a nod to the latter's ultimatum to the nine vice-chancellors of state universities to resign. The governor's unprecedented move had divided the political spectrum of the state down the middle with LDF led by CPM on one side and a fractured opposition under United Democratic Front (UDF) on the other. For the CPM and the left government, the HC's direction came as a relief, albeit temporary, and a weapon in its armoury as the leaders from Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to state leaders had harshly criticized the governor's action and warned him not to cross the constitutional limit.

The rift with Governor had presented the CPM with new political possibilities. The left front alleges that the governor is remote-controlled by the Sangh Parivar and his attempt to remove the Vice Chancellors is aimed to plant the pro-RSS academicians at the head of the state universities which the BJP had successfully done in their home states.

The LDF has also decided to organize state-wide protest marches and conventions across the state and a big protest in front of the Rajbhavan on November 15. On Tuesday and Wednesday, the left students' front and teachers' organizations organized protest marches on various college campuses. The tussle has also helped the government to come out from the controversy related to the CM and ministers' recent foreign trip. The opposition had alleged that the travel was a leisure trip for the CM and his family. The LDF had decided to organize large-scale campaigns also lining up like-minded parties and individuals against the Governor's move to destabilize the state administration and jeopardize the higher education sector.

For the government, the difference of opinion in the opposition camp also came as a shot in the arm when Muslim League, the second largest partner in the United Democratic Front (UDF), criticized the Governor while the opposition leader VD Satheeshan and the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president K Sudhakaran welcomed the Raj Bhavan ultimata to VCs. To make matters worse for Congress the national Organizing General Secretary KC Venugopal had come out against the Governor and criticized his action. League state general secretary PMA Salam termed the Governor's action as exceeding the boundaries.

Former minister PK Kunjalikkutty has also criticized the Governor. Both VD Satheeshan and K Sudhakaran welcomed the Governor's action and said that Raj Bhavan had now corrected its earlier mistake. Earlier, Pinarayi Vijayan also welcomed the League leadership's position. 'There are parties in the opposition who understood that attempts were being made to infiltrate into the higher education sector by letting in pro RSS academicians', the CM said. Minister for Local Self Government MB Rajesh has also criticized the Opposition leader for his support of the Raj Bhavan. Meanwhile, former KPCC president K Muralidharan's criticism against the Governor had also exposed the widening fissure in the Congress leadership.

However, the Governor on Tuesday served more show-cause notices to the Vice Chancellors of two more universities asking them to submit their reply on the legal right to continue in office. The state government and the LDF had decided to support the VCs in their fight against the Governor's attempts to oust them from office. The single bench of the Kerala High Court on Monday put a brake on the Governor's decision of asking the VCs to resign. The government is of the view that as the appointing authority it is the Governor who appointed these VCs. So he should be the first one to resign for having committed the offence.

And the government also pointed out that the SC verdict is applicable only to the particular case before the court. Meanwhile, Kerala University VC Dr Mahadevan Pillai whom Governor had asked to resign retired on Monday. The Governor gave the charge of the KU VC to Dr Mohanan Kunnumal, the VC of Kerala University of Health Sciences. Meanwhile, the appointment of Mohnan Kunmnumel to the Health University in 2019 October was itself controversial as the Governor had surpassed the two nominees of the state government. It was alleged that Mohanan had close relations with the Sangh Parivar leadership.

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