Kerala varsity row: Chennithala asks Minister Bindhu to quit

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The spat between Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan over the re-appointment of the Kannur University vice-chancellor escalated after letters by State Higher Education Minister R. Bindhu to Khan seeking re-appointment of Govindan Ravindran surfaced.

Demanding her resignation on Tuesday, senior Congress legislator and former Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala told the media that the two letters clearly shows a “clear violation of the oath of secrecy” of the minister and hence she has to quit.

“If she does not quit on her own, then Vijayan should remove her. Meanwhile, I have instructed my counsel to approach the Lok Ayukta and it will be done today or tomorrow. Bindhu has clearly broken all rules and hence she has to resign,” said Chennithala.

Echoing his demand, Leader of Opposition V.D. Satheesan said Bindhu is also the Pro-chancellor and she has clearly, through two of her letters to Khan asking re-appointment of the retiring vice chancellor, has violated rules and regulations.

“She has to resign as she has committed huge violations,” said Satheesan.

The disagreement between the Governor and the Chief Minister began after Khan went public to say that the higher education sector in the state has gone to the dogs as there is massive political interference in appointment of Vice-Chancellors and others.

He went on to say that he now regrets putting his signature in the re-appointment order of the Kannur Vice-chancellor and hence does not wish to continue as chancellor and asked Vijayan to pass an ordinance to that effect and take over the post.

Khan has asked his staff not to accept any files which comes to him in the capacity of chancellor.

Vijayan is also in the dock as he broke his silence on the issue saying that the state government had no role and it was Khan who had re-appointed the vice-chancellor.

It was after his statement came Bindhu’s letter and she is yet to make any statement.

Bindhu, a college principal is the wife of the Left Democratic Front convenor and CPI-M central committee member A. Vijayaraghavan and eyebrows was raised when she, a first time legislator was made a Minister.

Bindhu, while being sworn in as a Minister by Khan on May 20 this year, courted controversy after the Kerala BJP raised objections that she does not qualify as a professor according to UGC norms and knowing that very well, it was improper on her part to read her name in the oath as Prof R. Bindhu.

Khan is also in the dock after the CPI-M top brass called it improper on his part to take a U-turn after approving the re-appointment of the Kannur vice-chancellor. Vijayan had said that Khan had changed his stand due “some pressure from some quarters.”

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