Governor to flag lifelong pension for political appointees in Ministers’ offices


Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan. File.

Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan. File.
| Photo Credit: Thulasi Kakkat

Governor Arif Mohammed Khan opened another skirmish line in his battle against the Left Democratic Front (LDF) government.

In New Delhi, Mr. Khan said he would nationally spotlight the Kerala government’s unlawful practice of extending lifelong pensions to political appointees who serve a brief period in the offices of Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M] Ministers.

Mr. Khan said he did not have the authority to stop the fraud on the public exchequer. However, civic-minded citizens sworn to uphold the Constitution had legal avenues to halt the theft of tax payer’s money.

“It is a government for the cadre, by the cadre and of the cadre. Indian soldiers have to toil for ten years in extreme conditions to earn a lifelong pension. In contrast, these johnnies (political appointees) get the largesse for free. I have written to the Chief Secretary that only government secretaries need accompany Ministers during Raj Bhavan visits. I will not allow any political appointee to accompany Ministers to my office,” he said.

Also read: Not keen on tussle with government, says Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan

Mr. Khan accused CPI(M) Ministers of challenging national unity by stoking provincialism. He said a CPI(M) Minister had averred that persons from Uttar Pradesh could not discern how universities in Kerala functioned.

(Earlier, Mr. Khan had withdrawn pleasure for the continuation of Finance Minister K.N. Balagopal in the office on a similar charge, triggering a major political and legal confrontation with the State government. He had also maintained that citizens were free to criticise Raj Bhavan, but not ministers sworn in by the Governor.)

Mr. Khan said he had instructed the Kerala University Vice Chancellor not to act against students (Students Federation of India activists) who strung a derogatory banner against the Governor at the Sanskrit College entrance.

“The youngsters are indoctrinated by their party leaders to do the latter’s bidding. The impressionable youth did what they were taught in party classes,” he said.

Mr. Khan, as Chancellor of universities, had directed the Vice Chancellor to act against those responsible for the defamatory banner. He had earlier railed against political posters on university campuses.

Mr. Khan reiterated his accusation that the office of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had bent University Grants Commission norms to appoint Priya Varghese as Associate Professor in Kannur University’s Malayalam department. Opposition parties alleged that Ms. Varghese benefitted from a relative holding a high-ranking CMO post.


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