Kerala governor invites CM, ministers for Xmas feast

CM Pinarayi Vijayan and Governor Arif Mohammad Khan

Thiruvananthapuram: Amidst the ongoing tussle and war of words with the state government, Kerala governor Arif Mohammed Khan invited chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan and his cabinet to a Christmas feast at Raj Bhavan.

The government has not responded to the surprise move by the governor.

The Christmas feast is on December 14 at 5 in the evening. Besides ministers, top civil officials including the chief secretary and heads of Christian factions are also invited to the event.

The government had not invited the governor for Onam celebrations. Khan went to Attappadi on the day of the official closing ceremony to attend another programme.

Regardless of the invitation, Khan continued his tirade at the government on Saturday as well. He said the state government does not have "sole jurisdiction" over universities and they could not do something unilaterally. He was reacting to the Bill introduced in the Assembly to replace the governor as Chancellor of universities.

Khan is yet to sign some of the Bills passed during the previous session of the Assembly.

He had recently asked the chief minister to remove finance minister KN Balagopal from the cabinet stating the minister no longer enjoys the governor's “pleasure” to continue in office. Pinarayi responded to the developments in strong words. Khan too attacked Pinarayi personally as the dispute turned ugly.

Appointment of vice-chancellors and some faculties in the state universities are also issues of contention between the two heads of state. Khan has decided to sack VCs of 11 state universities who were appointed based on the recommendations of the government, citing the Supreme Court order on the VC of the technological university. The government, however, is of the opinion that the order is not applicable to other universities.

It has to be seen if the invite will be too embarrassing for the government to attend the event or whether it will use the opportunity to find a truce.

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