Federalism | Governors vs chief ministers

Tussles with the governments of Kerala and other states reignite old debates over the governor’s role in India’s federal structure

New Delhi,ISSUE DATE: Nov 14, 2022 | UPDATED: Nov 4, 2022 20:49 IST

Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan (black waistcoat) with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan (in white); (Photo: ANI)

It’s a moment of deja vu for Kerala. Way back in 1959, the state government, then led by CPI (and later CPI(M)) stalwart E.M.S. Namboodiripad, was at loggerheads with Governor B.R. Rao over, among several other things, an education bill that aimed to introduce certain reforms in the private education sector. The governor was unwilling to give his assent to the contentious bill, which had faced resistance from several organisations and pressure groups. The tussle eventually led to the dismissal of the Namboodiripad government and imposition of President’s rule in the state. More than six decades later, the southern state has been witnessing a similar tussle between the Left Democratic Front (LDF) government led by Pinarayi Vijayan and the current occupant of the Raj Bhavan—Arif Mohammad Khan. The bone of contention this time, too, is the education sector, more specifically the appointment of vice-chancellors in the 13 universities run by the Kerala government.

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