Governor Order: The minister KN Balagopal reportedly added, “Those who come from regions like UP, may find it impossible to understand universities in Kerala,” at a university event.
In a letter to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan demanded the expulsion of Finance Minister KN Balagopal over recent remarks he said were “seditious” at a university.
The Governor said in his letter to the Chief Minister that Mr. Balagopal gave a speech at a Thiruvananthapuram campus last week with the intention of “stoking the flames of regionalism and provincialism and weakening the unity of India.”
Recalling violent crackdowns on students by authorities in other areas of the nation, minister KN Balagopal reportedly warned at the event that “people who come from regions like UP, may find it impossible to understand institutions in Kerala.”
The Finance Minister Shri KN Balagopal’s comments, according to Mr. Khan, “aim to drive a wedge between Kerala and other States of the Indian Union and present a false perception that different States of India have separate systems of higher education.”
“Even though there are others who have attacked me, such as the ministers of education and law, I want to ignore them since they personally hurt me. But it would be a major breach of duty on my part if I did not take notice of Shri KN Balagopal’s seditious sentiments “said the letter.
The Governor instructed the Chief Minister to take “constitutionally proper action” because the Finance Minister “had stopped to enjoy my pleasure.”
The plea was swiftly rejected, according to information from the Chief Minister’s office, as reported by news agency PTI. Following the governor’s letter, the state’s ruling Left student wing organized a protest march outside the Raj Bhavan.
The conversation takes place in the midst of an ongoing dispute between the governor and the Left on the choice of university vice chancellors. A Mr. Khan order calling for the ouster of eight university presidents is still pending, according to the Kerala High Court.
The media officer for the Raj Bhavan stated in a tweet last week that while the Chief Minister and Council of Ministers “have the right to advise the governor,” statements made by specific ministers that diminish the dignity of the governor’s office may result in repercussions, including withdrawal of their official duties.
The Governor claimed, citing newspaper reports from October 19, that remarks made by Mr. Balagopal and state Higher Education Minister R. Bindu at a function held at Kerala University’s Karyavattom campus were “clearly intended to taint the image of the Governor and lower the dignity of office of the Governor.”