Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan has sent a letter to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan asking for ‘constitutionally appropriate action’ against Finance Minister KN Balagopal.
This comes after Khan had tweeted last week, “The CM and Council of Ministers have every right to advise the Governor. But statements of individual ministers that lower the dignity of the office of the Governor, can invite action including withdrawal of pleasure.”
According to the Governor, Balagaopal’s recent statements were clearly aimed at tarnishing the image of the Governor and lowering the dignity of his office and had violated the oath of office and undermined India’s unity and integrity.
Balagopal had said in his remarks believed to be targeted at the Governor, “Some people who are accustomed to the practices in places like Uttar Pradesh might not be able to understand the democratic nature in which universities function in Kerala.”
In his letter, the Kerala Governor quoted a few media reports referring to the statements of Balagopal and Higher Education Minister R Bindu. The title of one of the reports is “Ministers Balagopal, Bindu make jibes at Governor.”
Khan wrote in his letter that “the comments made by Balagopal 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.
"The reported statements of Balagopal are nothing short of a violation of the oath I had administered to him.
“As a minister who deliberately violates the oath and undermines the unity and integrity of India cannot continue to enjoy my pleasure. In these circumstances, I am left with no option but to convey that Balagopal has ceased to enjoy my pleasure.
"I hope that you will consider the matter with the seriousness it deserves and take action which is constitutionally appropriate.”
The Chief Minister has rejected the demand. Vijayan 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.”
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