Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan rejects Governor's demand to sack 'ignorant' FM Balagopal
The Governor termed the comments of the state finance minister as most disturbing and said that the latter's statements seek to stoke the fire of regionalism and provincialism, and if allowed to go unchecked, they may have an 'erosive and baneful influence' on our national unity and integrity.
In an unprecedented development in Kerala politics, Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan has written to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan saying that he has lost pleasure in Finance Minister KN Balagopal and sought the latter's removal from the Cabinet. The Kerala Chief Minister has rejected the Governor's recommendation.
Without directly naming the Governor, the minister had used strong words to react to the ongoing university vice chancellor appointment row. Balagopal had said on Tuesday that some people who are accustomed to practices in places like Uttar Pradesh might not be able to understand the democratic nature in which universities operate in Kerala.
'Vice-chancellor of Banaras Hindu University in Uttar Pradesh had 50 to 100 security guards when I last visited there,' the minister said, adding that this is the situation in many universities in Uttar Pradesh.
Reacting to the statements, Governor Khan said that the remarks were clearly aimed at tarnishing his image and lowering the dignity of the office of the Governor.
The Governor termed the comments of the state finance minister as most disturbing. He said that the latter's statements seek to stoke the fire of regionalism and provincialism. If allowed to go unchecked, they may have an 'erosive and baneful influence' on our national unity and integrity.
"The comments challenge not only the national unity and integrity but also the Constitutional Convention that makes it necessary that the Governor of each state shall be from outside the state. Balagopal also seems to be blissfully unaware that Banaras Hindu University is a Central University and does not come under the administrative control of UP government, and it had more Vice Chancellors from other states, including southern states, than from UP," he said.
"It is pathetic to see that Balagopal is totally ignorant of the great legacy of Kerala, which has played an extremely important role in building Indian Unity," he added.
In response, the Kerala Chief Minister said: 'Viewed from a constitutional perspective, factoring in the democratic conventions and traditions of our country, the statement cannot warrant a ground for cessation of enjoyment of the Governor's pleasure. My trust and confidence in K N Balagopal, a member of the council of ministers of the state of Kerala, holding charge of the Finance portfolio, still remain undiminished. I hope that the Governor will appreciate that no further action needs to be taken in the matter.'