The Republic Day Parade held in the Kerala capital of Thiruvananthapuram showcased a stark division between the State Governor and the Chief Minister, underscoring the ongoing discord between the two officials. The event served as a public display of the differing opinions that have emerged over the past few years.
The palpable tension between the Governor and the Chief Minister was evident throughout the parade, with both officials seemingly at odds with each other’s views. The visible discord raised questions about the underlying dynamics of their relationship and the implications for governance in the state.
Governor Dr Arif Mohammed Khan, in his mandatory speech, in connection with the 75th Republic Day celebrations, presented the developmental achievements of Prime Minister Narendra Modiji-led union government. He was speaking after hoisting the national tricolour at the Central Stadium, Thiruvananthapuram. He said, Prime Minister is executing the process of making the country a big power. And, Governor made it a point to criticise the state government. He said that the external interference in the realm of higher education has polluted the academic sector. The state is in need of independent educational institutions sans any external interference. It will be the betrayal of democracy if disagreements lead to violence.
Governor Dr Arif Mohammed Khan added that Kerala should encourage healthy democracy. He started his speech in Malayalam quoting the verses of Jnaanpeet laureate Mahakavi G. Sankara Kurup
Vikasit Bharat Sankalp Yatra has brought the developmental achievements amongst people. He told about the Vande Bharat train service and Kochi Water Metro under ‘Make in India’.
The major thorn in the flesh was the disputes regarding the higher education sector, alleged lack of transparency in the appointments of vice chancellors, back door appointments, appointments for the family members of the CPM leaders, abuse of university examinations and so many other issues.
Another reason was the Kannur varsity incident of 2019. During a seminar there, left historian Prof. Irfan Habeeb had interrupted his speech. Dr. Arif Mohammed Khan had alleged that Habeeb had tried to physically assault him. But, he did not get any support from any political parties, except BJP, in the state.
Ruling CPM-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) has been alleging that Governor Khan does not sign the bills passed by the assembly. Government has also moved the apex court of the country against the Governor’s delay in signing the bills. And, the recent agitations unleashed by DYFI and SFI had crossed all the limits. In an incident in Thiruvananthapuram, SFI men breached all security measures and reached his car and hit it causing damages to it.
At that time, there were allegations that the confidential information regarding Governor’s route had been leaked to the culprits, and there is no reason to disbelieve that argument. In Calicut University campus SFI men and girls staged an utter anarchy. They had declared that they would not permit the Governor to step into any campus in the state. They installed flex boards in all campuses in the state which displayed the most obscene abuses against the head of the state. The latest incident was the Policy Speech he delivered in the state assembly on January 25. He wrapped up the 63 page speech in 1.24 minutes. Both Governor and CM did not face each other, just like at the venue of the Republic Day Parade.
And, the latest news suggest that Kerala CM and his Cabinet colleagues, except for one, have boycotted the customary reception-tea party called “At Home”, at Raj Bhavan on the 26th evening. Bureaucrats and a minister were the only ones to represent the state government.
The aforementioned point out the need for total modification in the style of functioning of the Pinarayi regime. This author has gathered that common people in Kerala believe so. They have found that Governor does not have political or personal motives. But, their opinion regarding the LDF government is the other way around.