Chennithala seeks Kerala CM's response on D Litt controversy

Ramesh Chennithala | Mathrubhumi Photo

Kochi: Senior Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala, who had earlier levelled charges that the Left-front government had rejected the recommendation from the Governor to confer Kerala University's honourary D.Litt on President Ram Nath Kovind, on Monday sought the response of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in the issue.

Chennithala, while speaking to reporters here, said the decision of the Governor to step down as the chancellor of the varsities in the state was not right and instead should have taken steps to reduce the political influence in the universities.

"I have raised many questions which are yet to be answered. The higher education minister has said that the government has not interfered at any point and the university, which is an autonomous body, takes independent decisions on such matters," he told reporters here.

"The Governor has not denied any of the points I raised. He also said that the issues happening at universities are a disgrace to the country," Chennithala said.

He also asked the vice-chancellor of Kerala University to make it clear whether the Governor has recommended him to confer the honourary doctorate to the President.

"Why is the CM not reacting to any of the issues? He is maintaining a deadly silence in the matter. The vice-chancellor should also react to all these allegations," the opposition leader said.

Governor Arif Mohammed Khan had on Sunday said the President and Governor are considered as national institutions and under Article 51A of the Constitution, national institutions are to be respected.

Khan termed as "irresponsible" and "ignorant" the statements that he had recommended conferring of Kerala University's honourary D.Litt on President Kovind.

"What I have to speak, I have spoken. I am not going to respond to irresponsible statements. I cannot react to ignorant statements. I am not going to respond to statements made out of sheer ignorance," Khan said to reporters when asked whether he had made any recommendation to confer D.Litt on President Kovind.

His comments came in the wake of Chennithala throwing charges that the state government had rejected the recommendation from the Governor to confer D.Litt on the President and the subsequent statement by Leader of Opposition in the state assembly V D Satheesan that "if the Governor had inappropriately recommended anyone's name for D.Litt, then it's illegal".

Khan, who is at loggerheads with the state government over alleged political interference in the functioning of the universities, had said on December 30 that he was even ready to transfer the powers of chancellor to the Higher Education minister, who is also the pro-chancellor of the varsities.

The Governor had earlier also said he ceased to function as chancellor from December 8.

Attacking Khan, the opposition Congress had said that his stand to not continue as the chancellor was "illegal" and he was not supposed to "talk like a child."


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