CPI(M) up its ante in dispute with Kerala Governor

Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan. File

Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan. File | Photo Credit: H.S. MANJUNATH

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) appeared to have upped its ante in its political stand-off with Governor Arif Mohammed Khan.

“The Governor had struck an undemocratic stance by refusing to repromulgate 11 ordinances. It weakens the democratic process,” party State secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said after the CPI(M) State committee meeting.

The ordinances had lapsed after the Governor sought more time for "applying his mind". Consequently, the government recommended Mr. Khan convene the Assembly to ratify the executive orders.

Mr. Balakrishnan discerned a design in Mr. Khan's "politically charged public messaging", which he said was "alien to Kerala". The Centre had used the gubernatorial office, Central Bureau of Investigation, and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to upstage governments in non-Bharatiya Janata Party ruled States. It was trying the same tack in Kerala, he said.

Mr. Balakrishnan said the ED notices against former Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac and the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board were part of the plot.

The Centre wanted to stifle development in Kerala to disadvantage the Left Democratic Front politically. Hence, the Centre used the ED as a proxy to undermine KIIFB's ability to raise money from the open market by issuing masala bonds. The Centre had slashed Kerala's borrowing limit and denied GST compensation until 2027. Fiscal federalism was under grave threat.

Mr. Balakrishnan said the CPI(M) had conducted a granular appraisal of the functioning of Ministers. The party concluded that Ministers should connect better with the people instead of risking the appearance that they were distant, inaccessible, and remote entities leading an ivory tower existence.

“The people desire fairness and justice. The government should live up to the mandate given by the people. Ministers should tour the State, engage the people, and expedite the implementation of the LDF’s manifesto.”

Mr. Balakrishnan said the LDF would discuss the Communist Party of India’s objection to the Kerala Lok Ayukta Amendment Bill. The CPI disagreed with the provision that the political executive is empowered to review the ombudsman’s decisions.

Instead, the party had argued for an independent committee as a substitute for the administration. Mr. Balakrishnan said the Act denied even an appeal provision and made Lok Ayukta decree binding.

“It meant that the Lok Ayukta’s powers superceded that of the High Court and the Supreme Court. It is undemocratic and requires amendment,” he said.

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Printable version | Sep 25, 2022 10:58:58 am |