Twin Gubernatorial Rebuffs in Two Days: Political Violence Haunts Kerala Government

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Governor P. Sathasivam has sought a report from Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on the political killings. This is the second time in the last six months that the Governor has demanded the action taken a report from the Chief Minister over political murders involving the CPI(M) and the BJP. A report, in Different Truths. 

Two gubernatorial snubs in two consecutive days. That has been an unenviable lot of the Pinarayi Vijayan-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) Government ruling the State.

First of the twin rebukes came after political violence erupted in Kannur and Mahe, claiming the lives of a BJP activist and a CPI(M) leader. In a swift action, Governor P. Sathasivam has sought a report from Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on the political killings.

This is the second time in the last six months that the Governor has demanded the action taken a report from the Chief Minister over political murders involving the CPI(M) and the BJP.

The Governor’s action has come following pressure from the opposition parties in the state including the Congress-led United Democratic Front and the BJP, which has never squandered a chance to harass the Vijayan Government. Sathasivam had been criticised in the past for what these parties called his failure to make ‘proper interventions’.

Significantly, the Governor’s action has come against the backdrop of the meeting of Governors scheduled to be held in Delhi in the first week of June. Obviously, the Governor will have to explain at the meeting, being the representative of the Centre in the state, the law and order situation in the state.

Meanwhile, Kerala and Tamil Nadu police have launched an investigation in mutual cooperation into the twin murders. While the CPI(M) leader Babu was killed in Kannippoyil in Mahe, which comes under the jurisdiction of Puducherry, BJP-RSS worker Shamej was hacked to death in neighbouring New Mahe, which is in Kerala.

A peace meeting has also been held in the wake of the killings. But these meetings have become a butt of ridicule as nothing comes out such meetings. Decisions taken at the meetings are seldom implemented. Lack of follow-up is a major factor contributing to recurring political violence rocking the state.

While both sides must share the blame for the spurt in violence, being the ruling party, the CPI(M) has a greater responsibility to contain it. It is not as if the Pinarayi Government has been totally inactive. Arrests have been made and strict instructions given to the party cadres to exercise restraint in the face of even grave provocations. But somehow, the situation on the ground has not shown any improvement at all. Needless to say, the spurt in violence has given the opposition a powerful weapon to belabour the LDF government.

There is no denying the fact that the government will have to pull up its socks in addressing the serious issue and initiate stronger measures expeditiously. Failure to do so would only invite stronger interventions from the Governor, leading to ‘interventions’ from the Modi government at the Centre, which, CPI(M) leaders say, is waiting for an opportunity to destabilise the only communist government in the country.

The second rebuff from the Governor pertains to his striking out the name of AA Rasheed, who is close to the Chief Minister, from the panel of candidates shortlisted for appointment as members of the Kerala State Information Commission.

It is learnt the Governor rejected Rasheed’s name because of a case against him in the controversial university assistant recruitment scam. Rasheed, a district committee member of the CPI(M), is known for his proximity to the top CPI(M) leaders, especially Pinarayi Vijayan. What prompted the Governor to reject Rasheed’s name was complaints from other quarters as well. The Governor has, however, cleared four other names submitted by the LDF Government.

While top CPI(M) leaders have sought to play down the significance of the rebuke from the Governor, it has dented the image of the Government. The gravity of the situation can be gauged from the fact that even CPI, the second largest constituent of the LDF, has joined the chorus of criticism against the government over ‘deteriorating’ law and order situation. It is time the government as well as the CPI(M) addressed the issue with greater seriousness than has been evident so far.

P. Sreekumaran
©IPA Service 

Photo from the Internet