Varsity postings: Governor’s letter triggers an uproar

Congress and BJP to launch street protests

Governor Arif Mohammed Khan’s caustic putdown of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan for ‘political cronyism’ in University appointments has triggered a political uproar that seemed to weigh heavily against the Left Democratic Front (LDF) government.

Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) sought to weaponise Mr. Khan’s comment against Mr. Vijayan. Their student organisations were poised to launch stormy street protests to bring the government to heel on the touchy issue.

Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president K. Sudhakaran said Mr. Vijayan had created a record of a sort for Chief Ministers by systematically undermining the constitutional office of the Governor.

Earlier, Mr. Khan had to fast for a day to highlight the mounting criminality against women. Now, the Governor has thrown up his hands at the brazen nepotism in varsity appointments.

Mr. Sudhakaran alleged that the government had appointed the spouses of Speaker M. B. Rajesh, Industries Minister P. Rajeeve, Mr. Vijayan’s private secretary K. K. Rajesh, CPI(M) legislator M. N. Shamsheer, CPI(M) leader P. K. Biju and CM’s special officer R. Mohanan in various varsities by sidelining meritorious candidates. The instances of preferential treatment out in the public domain was just the tip of the iceberg.

Mr. Sudhakaran said the government had used a questionable legal opinion as a fig leaf to overturn Mr. Khan’s counsel not to extend the service of Kannur varsity chancellor beyond retirement age.

Mr. Khan objected to the government populating varsity senates and syndicates with CPI(M) satraps instead of academically oriented and qualified individuals. Mr. Vijayan turned a blind eye to the Governor’s appeal. The government gave silent consent to the Vice Chancellor of Kalamandalam university to move the High Court against Mr. Khan.

Leader of the Opposition V. D. Satheesan said Mr. Vijayan owed the public an explanation. The Governor’s scathing letter to the Chief Minister is a damning indictment of the unabashed politicisation of the higher education sector.

BJP State president K. Surendran said Mr. Vijayan had brought varsities under party cell rule. Mr. Khan’s letter was a slap on the face of the Chief Minister. Mr. Surendran urged the Government to revoke the controversial appointments or prepare to face turbulent mass protests.

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