Thiruvananthapuram: Amid standoff with the LDF-led Left government, Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan on Monday held a press conference and slammed Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan over a host of issues, while the Congress and the BJP sought his resignation.
“I will tell the people what’s happening in their state as the ruling CPI-M government is not interested in developing infrastructure. All they want is to eliminate people who are opposing them,” said Khan.
In a nearly two-hour long press meet, the Governor took on Vijayan and released his letters requesting re-appointment of his nominee as the Kannur vice-chancellor.
Khan said the CPI-M which rules the state is applying pressure tactics to get things done.
“First the CPI-M tried to intimidate me three years back when I was attending the Indian History Congress at Kannur. The present secretary of Vijayan K.K.Ragesh prevented the police from acting against those who tried to come near me then. I came to know about this only recently. I want to ask if Ragesh was given this post as a reward for that,” asked Khan.
“Now, I am being pressured into signing the two Bills (University Amendment and Lok Ayukta). I will not do it as it compromises the autonomy of the Universities. With regards to the Lok Ayukta Bill, how can one person sit in judgment for what he does,” said Khan.
“I have been called an RSS man since I met the RSS chief. There are several Governors in the country who belong to the RSS and there is nothing wrong in a Governor meeting the RSS chief. It is not a banned organisation. Pandit Nehru had invited RSS to take part in the Republic Day parade. The then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in his statement said he is a Swayam Sevak,” said Khan. His meeting the RSS supremo was a personal one as he got to know that he was also in Thrissur, Governor Khan added.
“It was just a courtesy visit. Will meet him again if he comes. I became close with RSS in 1986 and during the Shah Bano case, the RSS and even the CPI-M supported me, including EMS Namboodiripad. The CPI-M supported me till 1991,” added Khan.
Asked on the possibility of reconciliation with Vijayan, he said, “Yes, if I sign these two Bills. Do you want me to sign it ?,” shot back Khan.
Khan said Vijayan was very critical of Bharat Ratna CNR Rao and veteran Professor K.N.Panicker for stating that the quality of State’s higher education has deteriorated.
“Vijayan was saying that these people are maligning the higher education sector in the state,” pointed out Khan.
He said the ruling Left Democratic Front convenor ( E.P.Jayarajan) has been banned by an airline for attacking people inside an aircraft.
“Then we have another former Minister (K.T.Jaleel) who speaks of the territorial integrity of our country. These are not merely lapses, but they are indoctrinated during their training to take on all who are against their ideology,” said Khan.
Asked why he took three years to break his silence on the near manhandling he suffered at Kannur, he said that there is no time bar in a criminal case.
Taking a dig at the media, Khan said that he always spares time for the media when they wait for him at airports and outside meeting venues which he attends.
“I heard the Chief Minister say I am one who is waiting to speak to the media. Yes, when the media waits for me, I always speak to them, but I will never ask anyone to get out (Kedaku Purethu- the exact words that Vijayan used against the media when they were taking visuals of a meeting of his with BJP/RSS leaders). How do you ( media) tolerate this? If you don’t question he will again say ‘get out’ and very soon he will use his people to throw you out also,” said Khan.
Meanwhile, State Congress president K.Sudhakaran sought Vijayan’s resignation saying that the Governor himself has openly accepted that the CM had pressured him to appoint a vice-chancellor.
“Vijayan has no moral right to continue and a probe has to be announced ,” said Sudhakaran.
State BJP president K.Surendran said the need of the hour is to announce a judicial probe by a sitting judge of the Kerala High Court and Vijayan just cannot continue, as he is the Home Minister and Khan’s life was under threat.
“Vijayan has to resign. The present secretary of Vijayan – K.K.Ragesh should be arrested for his acts on the day when Khan came under duress at the Indian History Congress,” said Surendran.
Jayarajan accused Khan of talking like an RSS person.
“Khan should put in his papers as he is no longer fit to hold the office of a Governor,” said Jayarajan.
CPI-M veteran and former State Minister A.K.Balan said Khan is behaving in an unbecoming manner. Did he hold the press meet to announce that he too is a RSS worker? We will take up his breach of protocol with the President,” said Balan.