Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan on Monday gave his assent for convening the state assembly for a one-day special session on December 31 to discuss and pass a resolution against the three contentious central farm laws against which farmers are agitating in Delhi. Raj Bhavan sources said the Governor has given the nod for the session, days after the CPI-M led LDF government sent a fresh proposal to convene the assembly after he had turned down an earlier recommendation.
Even for the December 31 session, Khan sought some clarifications and the government had provided them. The session would be for a duration of one hour and commence at 9 AM, assembly sources said. In an unprecedented move, the Governor had earlier declined nod for the special session on December 23 to discuss the contentious laws, saying Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had not addressed the question raised by him on the nature of emergency warranating the very brief session.
In a letter to Vijayan, the Governor had also stated that the government wanted the special session to "discuss a problem for which you have no jurisdiction to offer any solution". Vijayan had shot off a letter to Khan on Tuesday describing as regrettable his decision while asserting that the governor was bound by the advice of the Council of Ministers and that moving resolutions and conducting discussions in the assembly "cannot be regulated by gubernatorial powers".
A day after the state Cabinet on December 24 again decided to recommend convening of the session, state Law Minister A K Balan and Agricultural Minister V S Sunil Kumar had met Khan on Friday. They had later said the interaction was ''positive'' and expressed hope the Governor would take an appropriate decision. Assembly Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan had met the Governor at the Raj Bhavan on Saturday to invite him for the customary policy address for the budget session beginning on January 8. On the sidelines of the meeting, the Governor and the Speaker had also discussed the December 31 session recommendation.
Vijayan had defended the move saying Kerala was largely dependent on other states for foodgrains and at the national level, the agricultural sector and the farming community were facing serious issues. "Therefore the problems faced by farmers in other parts of the country are of great concern to our state. As it is a matter of common interest to the state and the country, it will be appropriate to discuss this in the state Legislative Assembly," he had said after the fresh cabinet decision.
A large number of farmers mainly from Punjab and Haryana are demanding the repeal of the laws, contending that these would pave the way for a dismantling of the Minimum Support Price (MSP) mechanism and the mandi system, leaving them to the "mercy" of big corporates. The government has been saying these fears are misplaced and offered to hold fresh talks and resolve the issues.