THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Former Union minister Arif Mohammed Khan will replace P Sathasivam as the new Kerala Governor. The 68-year-old, who hails from Bulandshahr in Uttar Pradesh, was a Congress leader but quit the party owing to differences of opinion with Rajiv Gandhi. One who always stood for reformation in the Muslim community, he opposed the passage of Muslim personal law in the Lok Sabha.
He stood with the Supreme Court judgment in the Shah Bano case and opposed triple talaq, arguing that it be made a criminal offence with a three-year jail term. He thus endeared himself to the anti-Congress faction.
Khan joined the Janata Dal and was a Union minister for Civil Aviation and Energy in the V P Singh-led government. Later he parted ways with the Janata Dal and joined the Bahujan Samaj Party.
Khan later joined the BJP and contested elections, but tasted defeat.
Though he left the BJP too, he kept supporting the saffron outfit in several teething issues through his writings and speeches. Khan, along with his wife Reshma Arif, runs Samarpan for the differently-abled.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan congratulated Khan and extended him a warm welcome on behalf of the people of the state.
BJP state president P S Sreedharan Pillai said: “The Union government has posted a seasoned leader as Kerala Governor. We expect him to uphold the democratic values as well as traditions, and function in a non-partisan manner. We welcome the new Governor,” he said.
Former MP and Kerala Congress leader Scaria Thomas said: “Khan is an upright person and a politician with impeccable honesty and integrity. He’s a true democrat who can never be arm-twisted or cowed down by any higher-ups. The state can expect a neutral Governor who will never be partisan and partial.”