Row erupts in Kerala over KPCC chief’s support for Governor’s Senate nominees

He said Congress will examine whether the Chancellor's nominees are qualified and would oppose unqualified appointments.

BySouth First Desk

Published Dec 20, 2023 | 12:17 PMUpdatedDec 20, 2023 | 12:17 PM

K Sudhakaran governor senate nominations

A row has erupted in Kerala over the statement of Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee chief K Sudhakaran, expressing support for the alleged nomination of Sangh Parivar supporters to university Senates by Governor Arif Mohammed Khan, acting in his capacity as the Chancellor.

Talking to reporters in New Delhi on Tuesday, 19 December, Sudhakaran said that Sangh Parivar is a party in democracy, and therefore, there is no reason to oppose the nomination of qualified individuals, even if they are affiliated with such outfits.

He also said that the Congress will examine whether the nominees of the Chancellor are qualified and eligible for their posts. If they are found to be unqualified, the party would oppose such appointments.

Sudhakaran made the controversial remarks while responding to queries on allegations by the CPI(M) that the Governor nominated supporters from Congress and the Muslim League, alongside Sangh Parivar backers.

Also Read: Governor, CM Vijayan and Kerala’s most hated mode of protest

‘Look at qualification, not political affiliation’

Sudhakaran distanced the Congress from the Governor’s actions, stating, “We are not responsible for the actions of the Chancellor.” However, Sudhakaran acknowledged the presence of Sangh Parivar supporters among the academics but said, “We are not opposing that.”

Defending the Governor’s alleged actions, Sudhakaran said that if the nominees are qualified, their affiliation with Sangh Parivar should not be a deterrent.

He justified Governor Khan’s decisions, saying that the nominations were made in line with his responsibilities as Chancellor.

“Let them be nominated. If it consists only of Sangh Parivar activists, then we can oppose it. If there are good people among them (Sangh Parivar), how can we oppose their nomination? There are lots of good people in the Congress. When they are nominated to the Senate, we are happy. We accept that,” Sudhakaran said, justifying Khan’s actions.

Responding to the CPI(M)’s allegations of a disproportionate representation of Sangh Parivar supporters, Congress supporters, and IUML supporters in the Calicut University Senate, Sudhakaran said that the primary focus should be on evaluating the qualifications and merits of individuals appointed to the Senate rather than getting involved in political considerations.

He emphasised that the criteria for selection should be based on the academic and professional capabilities of the appointees, rather than their political allegiances.

Also Read: ‘Collapse of Constitutional machinery,’ says Kerala Governor

DYFI criticises Sudhakaran

The Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI), the youth wing of the ruling CPI(M) in Kerala, criticised Sudhakaran’s statement, alleging collusion between Congress and BJP in the southern state.

They further accused Sudhakaran of facilitating RSS influence through the Governor’s nominations.

“Through this, the Congress in Kerala is giving up to the RSS. Sudhakaran is laying the carpet for RSS’s backdoor politics by saying that the Governor’s nominees will not be opposed just because they are from the Sangh Parivar,” the youth outfit of the ruling CPI(M) alleged.

It said that Sudhakaran is going forward by ignoring even the declared political position of the Congress at the national level.

In response, Sudhakaran refuted the allegations, asserting that his statement focused on the merit-based appointment of Senate members and not on endorsing Sangh Parivar politics.

He clarified that Congress has consistently opposed attempts to implement Sangh Parivar ideologies in Kerala.

“We are the ones who demanded the withdrawal of the Governor in the Assembly. But Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and his colleagues not only did not support it, but defeated that demand,” he alleged.

Also Read: Waves of black at Calicut University as SFI steps up protest 

Protests against Governor

Governor Khan has faced SFI protests in the last few weeks over the controversial appointments he made to the Kerala and Calicut universities’ Senates.

The Governor rejected the list submitted by the state government and unilaterally filled the vacancies based on the suggestions from the state unit of the BJP.

The SFI has been staging widespread protests against the Governor, alleging that he has been pushing the BJP-RSS nominees to the Senate of various universities in the state using his authority as the Chancellor.

SFI president Anusree said that the Governor ignored the University list and pushed the Sangh Parivar nominees in the Senate. “The Chancellor has been behaving like a fascist. If he behaves so, he needs to stay outside the campuses. We will stage protests to safeguard the secular campuses from the communal forces.”

The SFI, the youth wing of the ruling CPI(M), has been alleging that Khan’s actions were part of the saffronisation agenda of the BJP.