'FM Balagopal has ceased to enjoy my pleasure', says Kerala Governor; CM denies charge

Governor Arif Mohammed Khan in his letter said that the statements of Balagopal criticising him were nothing short of a violation of the oath that he had administered to the minister.

Published: 26th October 2022 01:53 PM  |   Last Updated: 26th October 2022 06:53 PM   |  A+A-

Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan. (Photo | PTI)

Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan. (Photo | PTI)

By Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Accusing Finance Minister KN Balagopal of violating his oath of office, Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan has written to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan conveying that the minister has ceased to enjoy his "pleasure". Khan asked the Chief Minister to take action which is "constitutionally appropriate".  

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Vijayan is learnt to have strongly defended his cabinet colleague. In a reply to the Governor's letter on Wednesday, he reportedly said that there was no basis for his allegation.

The fresh round of confrontation between the Governor and the government began amid the ruling LDF's decision to launch state-wide protests against Khan's actions.

In his letter, the Governor said that the statements of Balagopal criticising him at a University event here were nothing short of a violation of the oath that he had administered to the minister. "A Minister who deliberately violates the oath and undermines the unity and integrity of India cannot continue to enjoy my pleasure," the Governor said in his letter on Tuesday.

The Governor quoted various media reports of Balagopal's speech in which he had said, "Some people who are accustomed to the practices in places like Uttar Pradesh might not be able to understand the democratic nature in which universities function in Kerala."

The Governor's letter

This is the first such move by the governor after Raj Bhavan PRO had tweeted on October 17 that the chief minister and Council of Ministers have the right to advise the governor but statements of individual ministers that lower the dignity of the office of the Governor, can invite action including "withdrawal of pleasure."

Balagopal, a former Rajya Sabha MP, reportedly also said that "security guards of the Vice Chancellor of Banaras University had shot down five students. Then I was an MP and had gone there. The Vice-Chancellor had 50 to 100 security guards. This is the situation in many universities there".

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"The remarks of Balagopal seek to create a wedge between Kerala and other states of the Indian union and project a false impression as if different states of India have different systems of higher education," the Governor said in the letter.

Quoting newspaper reports of October 19, the Governor alleged the comments made by Balagopal and state Higher Education Minister R Bindu at a function organised at the Karyavattom campus of the Kerala University were "clearly aimed at tarnishing the image of the Governor and lowering the dignity of the office of the Governor".

#WATCH | Finance minister whose main source of revenue is alcohol & lottery, is raising the question whether the governor who is from UP can understand the Kerala education system... But I would advise him that don't make the same comment about the judges of SC: Kerala Governor pic.twitter.com/mmrIJbPoQf

Khan said the Minister's remarks aimed to "stoke the fire of regionalism and provincialism". He added that if such remarks are allowed to go unchecked, they may have an "erosive and baneful influence on our national unity and integrity." Khan said the comments of the Finance Minister challenge the Constitutional Convention, too, which makes it necessary that the Governor of each state shall be from outside the state.

He stated Balagopal also seems to be blissfully unaware that Banaras Hindu University is a Central University and it does not come under the administrative control of the Uttar Pradesh government and that it had more Vice Chancellors from other states including from southern states than from UP.

"The Acts/Statutes of Indian Universities are more or less the same and Kerala's Universities have had Vice Chancellors from outside the state. The NAAC grading of our Universities is also assessed and granted by non-Keralite Peer Teams," the Governor said in his letter to the CM.

(With PTI inputs)


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