The ongoing war of words between the Left government and the Kerala Governor heated up further with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday alleging that Arif Mohammed Khan was not discharging his duties.
Vijayan, while responding to reporters' queries about some statements made by Khan a day ago, said he has no problem if the Governor was a "Sangh Parivar follower".
"But the Governor has to function as a Governor. He is presently not discharging the duties of a Governor," the chief minister alleged.
Khan on Wednesday had said that he was open to advice from the state government, "but not pressure from them." He was referring to the appointments of Vice Chancellors (VCs) to various universities in the state.
The Governor had also said the state government should come to Raj Bhavan and give him an explanation if they wanted urgent action regarding any bill or ordinance.
He also asked Vijayan to ensure that the Marxist party's members and supporters avoid calling Pakistan Occupied Kashmir as 'Azad Kashmir' and not "stoke the fires of separatism and regionalism." Khan made these comments in response to media reports about him not signing two ordinances sent for his approval by the government.
On the ordinance issue, the chief minister said that if the Governor had anything to say to him, he should say it directly and not through the media.
Ever since the recent Supreme Court verdict quashing the reappointment of Gopinath Ravindran as VC of Kannur University and berating the Left government for its "unwarranted intervention" in the matter, there has been a war of words between Khan and the Left government.
The apex court had found fault with Khan's order reappointing Ravindran to the post, saying the Governor had earlier "abdicated or surrendered" the statutory powers for reappointing the VC.
It had also said it is the Chancellor who is conferred with competence under law to appoint or reappoint VCs. "No other person, even the pro-chancellor or any superior authority can interfere with the functioning of the statutory authority," it had held.
Following the verdict, Khan had said that state Higher Education Minister R Bindu was not to be blamed as the chief minister had used her for seeking the reappointment of Ravindran.
He had accused the chief minister of having exerted pressure on him in the matter.
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