Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan has written to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, demanding the dismissal of Finance Minister KN Balagopal over recent remarks at a university, which he said were “seditious”.
In his letter to the Chief Minister, the Governor alleged that Mr Balagopal delivered a speech at a campus in Thiruvananthapuram last Wednesday, seeking to “stoke the fire of regionalism and provincialism and undermining the unity of India”.
According to reports, minister KN Balagopal had said at the function that “those who come from places like UP, may find it tough to understand universities in Kerala”, recalling violent crackdowns on students by authorities in other parts of the country.
“Remarks of Finance Minister Shri KN Balagopal seek to create a wedge between Kerala and other States of Indian Union and project a false impression as if different States of India have different systems of higher education,” Mr Khan said.
“Although there are others like Education Minister and Law Minister who have indulged in attacks on me, I wish to ignore them as they hurt me personally. But if I do not take cognizance of the seditious remarks of Shri KN Balagopal, it would be a grave omission of duty on my part,” the letter said.
Saying that the Finance Minister has “ceased to enjoy my pleasure”, the Governor directed the Chief Minister to take action “which is constitutionally appropriate”.
The request was promptly turned down, news agency PTI reported, quoting sources in the Chief Minister’s office. The governor’s letter also prompted a protest march by the student wing of the state’s ruling Left outside the Raj Bhavan.
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