Two Kerala Ministers on Friday met Governor Arif Mohammed Khan, a day after the LDF government decided afresh to convene a special assembly session to discuss and pass a resolution against the three contentious central agricultural laws, and described their interaction as ‘positive’. The meeting came even as the government and Left parties continued their attack on the Governor over his earlier decision refusing permission for a special session on December 23, calling it ‘unconstitutional’ and threatening to demand his recall.
Law Minister A K Balan and Agriculture Minister V S Sunil Kumar held discussions with Khan for around 35 minutes and later expressed hope the Governor would take “an appropriate decision" on convening the assembly on December 31. Kumar said there were certain matters suggested by the Governor which needed to be discussed with the chief minister.
He, however, did not elaborate. “The meeting turned out to be a positive one. We have discussed all the matters. With regard to the convening of the assembly on December 31, we hope the Governor will take an appropriate decision," Kumar told reporters here.
Khan had on Tuesday turned down the proposal of the LDF government for a brief assembly session on December 23 to discuss and pass resolution against the farm laws, being opposed by farmers, especially from Punjab and Haryana, who are staging protests on the borders of Delhi. He had declined nod on ground that the government did not address the question raised by him on the nature of emergency warranting the very brief session and pointing to the regular session slated to commence from January 8.
The state Cabinet which met on Thursday again decided to recommend to Khan seeking approval for a special assembly session on December 31 over the farm laws with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan saying his government was ‘hopeful’ that the Governor would accord sanction. Meanwhile, Law Minister Balan in an article published in various Malayalam dailies on Friday said it was not desirable for the Raj Bhavan to become a centre of controversies.
“The governor’s action, denying permission to convene a special assembly session decided by the state cabinet, is unconstitutional. This should not be seen as a personal issue between the governor and the government. Government is not interested in any controversy," he wrote. Balan said Khan’s decision marked the beginning of a “wrong practice" that no other governor has ever tried to do, adding “This is unfortunate".
He said convening and the adjournment of the assembly were at the discretion of the government and does not fall under the governor’s discretionary powers. “In short, it is unconstitutional to infringe on the rights of the legislature, the speaker and the government under the guise of discretionary powers for personal gains," Balan said in the article.
CPI, a major ally in the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF), in an editorial published in its mouthpiece ‘Janayugam’, lashed out at Khan, alleging “he became the Governor after joining Sangh Parivar which despises democracy". Before that he was “begging in the corridors of various political parties, including the Congress to remain in power," the party alleged, mounting a sharp attack on Khan.
CPI claimed Khan was an RSS appointee to the Governor’s post and it was aimed at speeding up their agenda in a state which upholds political, democratic and secular values. “The cabinet has once again decided to convene a special assembly session on December 31 to discuss agriculture matters and the laws.
“The recommendation for this has been forwarded to the Governor. If he againrefuses to accept the recommendation, Kerala will unite for another resolution to recall Khan from the post of Governor," the editorial said. Defending his decision, Khan had on Wednesday said Vijayan did not address the question raised by him on the nature of emergency warranting the very brief session.
“It became clear that you wanted this special session to discuss a problem for which you have no jurisdiction to offer any solution", he had told Vijayan in a letter, referring to the farmers protest in Delhi. Explaining the circumstances that forced the cabinet to come up with a fresh recommendation for the special session, Vijayan had on Thursday said at the national level, the agricultural sector and the farming community were facing serious issues and that the southern state was largely dependent on other states for food grains.
“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. The Governor’s earlier decision declining nod for the special session had triggered sharp criticism from the ruling LDF and opposition United Democratic Front (UDF).
However, the state BJP had welcomed the governor’s action, saying the attempt to pass a resolution against the laws passed by Parliament and given assent by the President was ‘unconstitutional.’ .