Kannur VC reappointment row: Will LDF Govt make peace with Governor Arif Mohammed Khan?

Kannur VC reappointment row: Will LDF Govt make peace with Governor Arif Mohammed Khan?
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Governor Arif Mohammed Khan.

Thiruvananthapuram: The ties between Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan and the ruling Left Democratic Front dispensation in the State are frosty in the wake of his public denunciation of political interference in the administration of universities. The State Government is apprehensive that the Governor may resort to more public outbursts, raking up political meddling in university appointments.

With Khan set to return to the State on Friday from Delhi, the key people in the ruling political front hope for a rapprochement between the Governor and the State Government.

The Governor, who is expected to reach Kochi by 8 pm on Friday, would visit the house of industrialist MA Yusuff Ali on Saturday. Later, he would leave for Bekal in Kasaragod district. He would attend some private functions there.

Since Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan is leaving for New Delhi to attend the CPM politburo meeting, an immediate meeting between the two are ruled out. But at the same time, some CPM leaders, who share a good rapport with Khan, may meet him personally and will try to assuage him.

As per the schedule, the Governor would reach Thiruvananthapuram on December 23 after attending official programmes with President Ram Nath Kovind, who will be on a State visit to Kerala from December 21.

State govt on the defensive

The Kerala Government knows very well that the allegations raised by the Governor are pertinent even though the High Court rejected the petition against the reappointment of the Vice Chancellor of Kannur University.

This controversial reappointment was just one issue raised by the Governor. No attempt has been made hitherto by the government to address the issues raised by the Governor in his capacity as the Chancellor of Universities.

According to political observers, even if the Governor and the Chief Minister reach a temporary truce after holding discussions, the State Government will have to take action on the issues raised by him.

The State Government's initial stand is that the allegations raised by the Governor are politically motivated and baseless. Hence so far there has been no move to placate the Governor, but there has been an attempt to provoke him. In a clear challenge to the Governor, the Kannur University Syndicate had approved the amendment of rules in order to take away the powers of the Chancellor.

With the petitioners going for appeal against the Single Bench order approving the reappointment of the Kannur University VC, the State Government also wants to be on the safer side. To avoid criticism, the government will have to take some steps to address the concerns raised by the Governor.

The main solace for the ruling dispensation is that the Opposition United Democratic Front is not fully supporting the Governor in the present row. But the Opposition is sure to change its stance if the LDF Government tries to further provoke the Governor and take away the post of Chancellor from him.

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