Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan on Saturday said he will raise the issue of recruitment by state cabinet ministers of personal staff members, who become eligible for lifelong pension after they complete two years of service.
This statement by the Governor comes a day after his address to the state Assembly.
Things went for a toss on Thursday evening when news surfaced that Khan had refused to sign his address to the Assembly. This led to a war of words between Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Khan after which the Chief Secretary had to intervene to smoothen matters.
It was only after that, that news spread that Khan was angry about the way CPI(M) leaders appointed their staff members and replaced them after two years, who then become eligible for lifelong pension.
Another reason why the Governor was upset was the controversy surrounding the appointment of senior journalist Hari S. Kartha, who is also a state BJP committee member.
Khan was angry after a letter from K.R.Jyothilal, the General Administration Secretary, cleared the appointment of Kartha. The letter mentioned that such an appointment is being made for the first time.
On Thursday, Khan signed his address after Jyothilal was removed from his position.
Before flying to Delhi, the Governor on Saturday said he came to know about the appointment of staff only from the CPI(M) just three days back.
“I raised this issue and wanted to end it by implementing it as a policy. I was a Union Minister and had just 11 staff members. But in Kerala every Cabinet Minister has more than 20 staff. Nowhere in the country such a thing exists where these appointees, who retire after two years, gets lifelong pension and a new set of staff is appointed,” he added.
“I am not going to leave this issue and will pursue it. I have asked for all the files on this matter and want to make it clear that I will not allow anyone to run the Raj Bhavan. I am only answerable to the President,” Khan said.
Asked about the allegations of appointing a BJP leader to his staff, Khan said he is preparing a list of the total number of political appointments made to the Raj Bhavan in the past, adding that Kartha has resigned from the state BJP committee.
“I never asked for the removal of anyone. A Secretary alone can’t write that letter, which was unacceptable to me. Poor thing (Secretary) only carries out what he is being told, but I will not allow anyone to control the Raj Bhavan,” the Governor added.
Khan slammed former State Electricity Minister A.K.Balan for his rude comments.
“He lost his job as a Cabinet Minister and therefore, to please someone he might have made such remarks,” the Governor said.
Khan added that Balan should refrain from using “Balanish’ statements (word ‘Balan’ in Malayalam means a child)
The Governor slammed the Leader of Opposition V.D. Satheesan and said it would be better if he learns from former Opposition leaders Oommen Chandy and Ramesh Chennithala.
Satheesan said he does not require advice from Khan.
“I don’t need advice from the Governor, who in his political career has worked with five different parties,” he added.