Kerala governor versus chief ministertext_fields
The latest developments in the cold war between Kerala governor Arif Muhammad Khan—appointed by BJP's central government—and the ruling Left Front government of Kerala, being escalated with the second term of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, has entered now into an open war.
While the relations between the chief ministers of most of the non-BJP ruled states and the governors are not convivial, it must be said that the battle in Kerala has taken an unusual turn. Governor Arif Muhammad Khan opened a Pandora's Box following the Supreme Court's cancellation of the appointment of Dr. M.S. Rajashree as Vice Chancellor of A.P.J. Abdul Kalam University after hearing the petition filed by Prof P S. Sreejith citing violation of rules in her appointment.
Shocking both the government and VCs alike, Arif Mohammad Khan the other day ordered nine VCs, including four whose appointment he had ratified, to resign before 11.30 am on Monday, October 24. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan gave a message to the VCs not to heed the Governor's order to resign. Accordingly, the vice chancellors are not ready to resign but instead challenged the Governor's order in the High Court. The chancellor asked the VCs to explain their reason for not quitting by November 3. The High Court has also put off the hearing till then. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam University Vice Chancellor Dr. M.S. Rajashree was appointed to the post from a lone panel of herself. The petitioner also cited in the Supreme Court that the Chief Secretary was also a member of the search committee. By accepting that, the Supreme Court annulled Dr. Rajashree's appointment.
The Chancellor acted on the same premise that the appointments of all VCs in other universities in Kerala are also invalid. The chancellor is of the view that his order for VCs to resign was a corollary of the court judgment on the grounds that the chief secretary was a member of the search committee and the recommended panels did not have a fixed number of members. However, the stated position of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and the Left Front is that the Governor's action on all other VCs, based on a verdict applicable only to a particular university and its VC based on a private petition, is part of the RSS agenda to take over the higher education sector in the state. They have taken the protests down to the streets. As for the opposition UDF, there is no unanimity of opinion on the issue. While AICC General Secretary K.C. Venugopal and K. Muraleedharan MP came out against the Governor, opposition leader V.D. Satheesan has thrown his weight behind the governor.
The Muslim League, on the other hand, while alleging the Pinarayi administration of committing irregularities in the VC appointments, rebuffs Arif Mohammad Khan's pro-Sangh Parivar moves. Let's wait and see the outcome of this messy situation. One thing is clear. As Congress leader K. Muralidharan points out, the VC controversy is essentially about the struggle between Saffronisation and Marxistisation. Just as saffronisation is taking over the nation's education sector, all the patriots and champions of secular education should resist the malicious and destructive efforts of saffronisation. Other interests should not come in the way to weaken this struggle. The extreme right-wing must be thwarted, while admitting that the greatest weakness of the Pinarayi government is nepotism and the abuse of power which gave the saffron soldier Arif Muhammad Khan to opportunity to interfere. There should not be any meddling by anyone.