Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Wednesday said Governor Arif Mohammed Khan's "norm-shattering anti-government press conference" at Raj Bhavan was an unprecedented breach of protocol and unseemly politicking to advantage the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh's communally divisive and revisionist agenda.
The Constitution envisaged the Governor as a detached figure, not a Central government agent or political mouthpiece. Mr. Vijayan alleged Mr. Khan threw constitutional propriety to the wind and brazenly aligned Raj Bhavan with the Sangh Parivar cause.
Mr. Vijayan said Mr. Khan called on RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat as constitutional head of State and not in a private capacity. He said Mr. Khan claimed he trained RSS organisers. “Scores of communists had fallen to the knives of such trained cadres, and the Governor is lamenting about political violence in Kannur,” he said.
“The allegation that Mr. Khan had transformed Raj Bhavan into a hive of a right-wing political conspiracy against the Left government is serious,” Mr. Vijayan said.
Mr. Vijayan tied Mr. Khan's opposition to the University Laws (Amendment) Bill to the Sangh Parivar's bid to control higher learning centres to indoctrinate students in a saffronised version of Indian history. The RSS aspired to use Governors to appoint its nominees as Vice Chancellors. It hoped to use them to pack universities with RSS ideologues.
Mr. Vijayan pointed out that the central university in Kasaragod had appointed an ABVP leader from Tamil Nadu as an associate professor.
Mr. Vijayan connected Mr. Khan's attempt to resurrect and demonise the anti-CAA protests against the Governor at the inaugural venue of the Indian History Congress in Kannur in 2019 as a prelude to the Central government's recent move to implement the patently anti-minority law.
Mr. Vijayan said Mr. Khan's claim that he had incriminating evidence to prove the government had sought favours from Raj Bhavan had fallen flat. He said Mr. Khan had lowered Raj Bhavan's stature by releasing routine government communications.
Mr. Vijayan said constitutional decorum prevented him from responding in kind. He defended the credentials of historian Irfan Habib and Kannur University Vice Chancellor Gopinath Ravindran, whom Mr. Khan had singled out for harsh criticism.