Cong backs Governor's cancellation of controversial appointment in Kannur University

VD Satheesan-Arif Mohammed Khan | Photo:

Thiruvananthapuram: A day after Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan stayed the controversial appointment of a Malayalam Associate Professor in Kannur University, the opposition Congress on Thursday backed his move saying he had acted legally in his capacity as Chancellor even as the ruling CPM charged that the Centre was using the Governor to serve its political purpose.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan's private secretary K K Ragesh's wife Priya Varghese had been proposed to be appointed as Associate Professor in the Malayalam Department by Kannur University, which triggered a huge political row as she had the lowest research score but the highest in the interview round and was declared as first in the selection process.

Justifying the Governor's action to stay the proposed appointment, Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly V D Satheesan said Khan had actually used his power to prevent the Kannur University's attempt to make an illegal appointment.

A comprehensive probe should be conducted into all similar appointments of close relatives of ruling party leaders allegedly made in other universities across the state during the past six years, he demanded.

The senior Congress leader reiterated his charge that faculty posts in state universities are reserved for the relatives of the CPI (M) leaders.

"Justice has been denied to deserving persons (job aspirants) openly. The same has happened in the past six years as well. The Governor should take steps to investigate and cancel all such appointments," he said.

Satheesan was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a party programme at the District Congress Committee (DCC) office here.

Noting that as per the law passed by the state Assembly, the Governor has the power to cancel illegal appointments made in universities, he said the opposition would definitely oppose his actions if he acted against law.

The university's decision to approach the court against the Governor's action is to restore injustice, he further alleged and said if they do so, the Congress-led UDF would also seek legal recourse to ensure that such law violations don't take place again in the southern state.

Satheesan urged the Pinarayi Vijayan government to entrust the university appointments with the Public Service Commission (PSC), the state's apex recruitment agency, to ensure transparency.

He also alleged that the motive behind the Left government's reported move to bring a university (amendment) bill was to conduct faculty appointments according to their choice.

"The aim of the government is to select people of their choice as vice-chancellors of the universities and conduct illegal faculty appointments," the LoP further charged.

Meanwhile, CPI (M) state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan made a scathing attack against the Governor in his latest article in the party's mouthpiece "Deshabhimani", saying that the BJP-led government at the Centre was trying to put the Left government in a dilemma using Khan.

The Governor's adamant stand not to sign the amendments was part of this agenda, he alleged without mentioning about him staying Varghese's appointment last night.

In a detailed article, Balakrishnan further charged that the Governor was acting as a tool of the Narendra Modi government and the BJP.

The Marxist party leader pointed out that as per rules of the parliamentary democratic system of the country, the President and the Governor should act in accordance with the advice of the union and the state cabinets respectively.

Amidst the ongoing standoff between the LDF government and Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan, the latter in his capacity as Chancellor of universities in the state on Wednesday stayed the proposed appointment of Associate Professor in the Department of Malayalam in Kannur University.

Khan also invoked provisions of the Kannur University Act and issued show-cause notices to all the stakeholders, the Raj Bhavan said in a statement.

The Governor's decision came shortly after he told mediapersons to wait for 30 minutes to know what had happened regarding the controversial proposed appointment of the wife of a Left leader in the varsity's Malayalam department.


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