Budget session: Kerala Guv ends policy address in 1:15 mins, reads only last para of 61-page-long speech

Photo: Screengrab/Sabha TV

Thiruvananthapuram: Governor Arif Mohammad Khan on Wednesday did the closest thing to refusing to read out the policy address of 'his government'. He skipped the entire 61-pages-long address except the last paragraph and wound up the address in 1 minute 15 seconds. The national anthem was repeated in quick succession, within a gap of seconds. 

The 2024 Governor's address will thus go down as the shortest ever in the country's history. This was also perhaps the most dramatic speech ever, just that the drama was in the silence, in the words left unspoken.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Speaker AN Shamseer meet Governor Arif Mohammed Khan. Photo: PRD

Speaker A N Shamseer and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had to escort the Governor out of the Assembly hall less than two minutes after they ushered him in. Government circles had anticipated a snub, given that the Governor-Government relationship had plumbed the deepest depths, but what the Governor in turn did was a virtual boycott of 'his government'. Had he read the speech, the Governor had to repeatedly say 'my government'. He clearly was in no mood for it. The Governor didn't bother to even address the members before he began.

The Governor's move was a surprise even though it was known that the Governor did not get along with the Government, especially the Chief Minister. In fact, it was earlier reported that Khan had expressed no dissent in the draft of the address that was sent to him by the government. Since the Governor had also said that he would abide by his Constitutional duties, the expectation was a smooth start to the Budget session.

On Thursday, the worst thing anticipated by the government circles was that Khan would skip certain portions that would criticise the Centre and also portions that lauded the LDF Government's contributions in the higher education sector. But Governor, in keeping with his maverick nature, skipped the entire speech except for the brief conclusion.

Nonetheless, there was an indication of the shocker he was about to deliver when the Governor arrived at the Assembly hall. The Chief Minister was all smiles as he offered the Governor the ritual welcome bouquet. The Governor accepted it but without looking the Chief Minister in the face.

The Governor carried the same indifference he had demonstrated during the swearing in of the two ministers, Kadannappally Ramachandran and K B Ganesh Kumar, on December 29, 2023. This was expected as the swearing in had happened soon after the series of aggressive and bitter campaigns unleashed by the SFI against him.

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