Arif Mohd Khan unlikely to parrot LDF govt's words in assembly speech

Arif Mohd Khan unlikely to parrot LDF govt's words in assembly speech
File Photo: Arif Mohammad Khan, Kerala Governor.

Thiruvananthapuram: The growing unease between CPM-led Kerala government and Governor Arif Mohammad Khan could have a bearing on the latter's customary address to the Legislative Assembly which is set to convene later this month for the budget session.

The Governor is scheduled to deliver his speech on January 30, the first day of the session. It has to be seen how much liberty the Governor could take with the traditional practice of reading out the policies of the state government during his speech.

Sources in the government hint that the Governor's address will have portions critical of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). Interestingly, sources close to the Governor suggested that the no way he is going to read out the portions which are critical of the CAA.

As is well known it is the government of the day that prepares the speech delivered by the Governor or President to the House that has convened at the beginning of its session in a new year. Usually, governors have to go by the text approved by the Cabinet while delivering the address to the Assembly as it was primarily a policy statement of the government. 

When the draft of the speech is submitted to the governor, the latter can suggest modifications. However, it is the prerogative of the government to accept or reject the revisions made by the Governor’s office. The Governor has the right not to read the portions which he can't approve of. However, even if he refuses to read it, the portions will become part of the assembly records.

Ever since the controversial CAA was passed by the center, there has been a growing divide between the Governor and the ruling LDF front. While the state government opposed the legislation, the Governor backed the stand of the central government on the issue. The Governor even lashed out at the state government for approaching the Supreme Court against the Act.

There have been instances of governors skipping portions of the speech approved by the cabinet. In 2001 during the tenure of the A K Antony-led UDF government, the then-Governor refused to read parts of the prepared text.  Governor Sukhdev Singh Kang refused to read out portions which was critical of the economic policies of the previous LDF government led by EK Nayanar. However, the portion that was left out by the Governor is considered as part of the official records even now!

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