Governor Arif Mohammed Khan skips as K.Muraleedharan wants him to keep away since the governor has taken pro-CAA stand.
Jolted at Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan’s stand on Citizenship (Amendment) Act, the state Congress leadership, in an ugly turn of events, asked him to stay away from the commemoration meeting in memory of former Chief Minister K Karunakaran, a doyen of Kerala politics, for which Khan was earlier invited by the Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala.
- Arif Mohammed Khan readily obliged the Congress request and tweeted his decision.
In his latest tweet on the incident making the whole episode public, Mr. Arif Mohammed Khan said
” I was looking forward to paying tributes to the memory of Karunakaranji, & to meet his family at today’s commemoration. But, I’d to accept organizers’ request to stay away as they feared my presence may provoke unseemly protests”
“I have fond memories of K KarunakaranJi with whom I’d worked.For him, leadership was a way of life.He was not just a politician, but an inspiration to a generation of leaders who saw him as a mentor. In Delhi, he was my neighbour”, he added.
Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala wrote to the Governor’s office asking him not to attend the function, as the latter demanded a written request.
The commemoration meeting for the late Congress leader was held in Thiruvananthapuram on Monday evening.
Both the Congress and the Left Democratic Front leaders had strongly criticised the Governor for supporting the Citizenship Amendment Act, with the Congress saying the Governor had ‘stooped to the level of a BJP spokesperson’.
K Muraleedharan, Vadakara MP and son of K Karunakaran, also attacked the Governor ‘for not acting with the dignity that the post demands’. He had also said that if the Governor continues to justify the Citizenship Amendment Act, they would be prompted to consider boycotting him.
Muraleedharan also said that the invitation for the commemoration meeting had been sent to the Governor long back but added that his stand under the changed circumstances was conveyed to the party leadership.
In the letter sent to the Private Secretary to the Governor, PS to Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala said that due to some unexpected developments, it would not be appropriate for the Governor to attend the commemoration function.
“Our democracy allows freedom of speech and right to dissent and protest peacefully. But democracy requires room for debate a goods well. We may firmly adhere to our views, but need not shut the door to opinions different from ours. However, I have respect for all who differ with me and I again extend an invitation to them to Raj Bhavan for discussion. And for this purpose, if they invite me again, I shall respond positively – reads another tweet from Arif Mohammed Khan.
The Congress-led Opposition in the state said that the BJP was trying to present a “distorted” version of history.
Arif Khan in a speech on ‘Citizenship, institutional and civilisational’ in Delhi on Saturday said that the Congress had “committed itself in 1947 to accept” the people who have already fled Pakistan and who are likely to flee because their lives and honour were in danger.
Justifying the CAA, the Governor also indirectly blamed the Congress for protesting a law meant to provide citizenship to persecuted minorities from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
With the confrontationist approach adopted by both the ruling LDF and opposition UDF against the Governor and BJP in the state, it remains to be seen the polarisation that may eventually emerge over such developments tilting to the advantage of the parties clamouring for or against CAA and NRC, especially in the context of the firm stand taken by the state Government for the entry of women to the Sabarima shrine last year and the electoral debacle received by the ruling LDF in the subsequent Lok Sabha elections