CPM blames RSS for 'Raj Bhavan-based political moves' as Guv alleges nepotism in Kannur varsity

Governor Arif Mohammad Khan, (right) Kannur University

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan on Thursday criticised the Kannur University's move to appoint a CPI(M) leader's wife as an associate professor in its Malayalam Department, saying appointing a person who is not qualified appears to be a case of favouritism and nepotism.

A day after the Governor, in his capacity as chancellor of the university, stayed the controversial appointment of Pirya Varghese, wife of CPI(M) leader K K Ragesh, Khan said late on Thursday, "It appears that the violation of the law has become the norm."

"The process of the appointment... it appears to be a case of favouritism and nepotism. A person who is not qualified to be appointed as an assistant professor on prima facie is being appointed because she is spouse of the secretary to the chief minister. This is political. There is absolutely no doubt," he told reporters in New Delhi.

Khan also slammed the university vice chancellor's reported decision to challenge his action in the court, indicating that amounts to insubordination and indiscipline.

"A subordinate officer of the institution can go against the head of the institution... whether it amounts to insubordination, it amounts to indiscipline... I have not checked with the legal experts," the Governor said responding to a query.

Varghese had been proposed to be appointed as an associate professor in the Malayalam Department by Kannur University, which triggered a huge political row as she had the lowest research score but the highest in the interview round and was declared first in the selection process.

On Wednesday, Khan, in his capacity as Chancellor of universities in the state, stayed the proposed appointment of Associate Professor in the Department of Malayalam in Kannur University.

He also invoked provisions of the Kannur University Act and issued show-cause notices to all the stakeholders.

Kodiyeri Balakrishnan
Kodiyeri Balakrishnan

'RSS operating via Raj Bhavan,' alleges Kodiyeri

Amid mounting tension between the Kerala government and Governor Arif Mohammed Khan on various issues, the ruling CPI(M) on Thursday alleged that Rajbhavan-based political moves are being made to "topple" the Left dispensation.

CPI(M) state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan alleged that the RSS has a role in the anti-government moves.

"CPI(M) is facing new political challenges (in the state). RSS is working on an agenda for the next three years. Delhi is the centre of such activities. RSS offices are headquarters of this (the anti-government moves)," Balakrishnan alleged at a party function here.

Accusing the Rajbhavan of also playing a role in the "planned move to topple" the LDF government, the senior CPI(M) leader said it would be resisted with the support of the people.

His statement came a day after Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan stayed the controversial appointment of a Malayalam Associate Professor in Kannur University.

Earlier, Balakrishnan in an article on CPI(M) mouthpiece "Deshabhimani" made a scathing attack against the Governor, saying that the BJP-led government at the Centre was trying to put the Left government in a dilemma using Khan. In a detailed article, Balakrishnan charged the Governor with acting as a 'tool' of the Narendra Modi government and the BJP. The senior Marxist leader pointed out that as per rules of the parliamentary democratic system of the country, the President and the Governor should act in accordance with the advice of the union and the state cabinets respectively.

The CPI(M) is also upset over the Governor's decision not to sign many ordinances. Several ordinances, including the Kerala Lokayukta (Amendment) Ordinance, issued by the LDF government lapsed on August 8 as Khan had not signed them owing to paucity of time to go through them, sources said.

VD Satheesan
VD Satheesan. File photo: MMTV

Opposition backs Khan's action

Meanwhile, the opposition Congress today backed the Governor's move on the Kannur University issue, saying he had acted legally in his capacity as Chancellor.

Justifying the Governor's action to stay the proposed appointment, Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly V D Satheesan said Khan had actually used his power to prevent the Kannur University's attempt to make an illegal appointment. A comprehensive probe should be conducted into all similar appointments of close relatives of ruling party leaders allegedly made in other universities across the state during the past six years, he demanded. The senior Congress leader reiterated his charge that faculty posts in state universities are 'reserved' for the relatives of the CPI (M) leaders. "Justice has been denied to deserving persons (job aspirants) openly. The same has happened in the past six years as well. The Governor should take steps to investigate and cancel all such appointments," Satheesan told reporters here.

Priya Varghese
Priya Varghese is the wife of K K Ragesh, the private secretary to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

Noting that as per the law passed by the state Assembly, the Governor has the power to cancel illegal appointments made in universities, he said the opposition would definitely oppose his actions if he acted against law.

The university's decision to approach the court against the Governor's action is to restore injustice, he further alleged and said if they do so, the Congress-led UDF would also seek legal recourse to ensure that such violations don't take place again in the southern state.

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