Thiruvananthapuram: The ‘ping-pong’ between the Pinarayi Vijayan government and Governor Arif Mohammad Khan over the special assembly session to reject Centre’s new farm laws is showing no signs of a closure.
The Vijayan cabinet on Thursday decided to send another request to the governor for a session on December 31 to pass a resolution in this regard.
The government had decided to pass such a resolution in a specially convened assembly meeting on December 23, but the meeting could not be convened as the governor refused to call such a session in a hurry, for which he could not see the need for any urgency.
In the third round, when the chief minister clarified that it was meant to debate the new farm laws of the Centre, the governor sent a rejection note, saying the subject was not within the jurisdiction of the state government.
Now, the ball is again in the governor’s court, with the government fixing the new date and seeking his approval. The cabinet is learnt to have examined all alternatives, including the legal option in the event of the governor rejecting permission yet again.
While addressing a press conference, Pinarayi Vijayan questioned the governor’s action, which he described as a violation of the system of parliamentary democracy prevailing in the country. It is for the cabinet to decide what to discuss and not to discuss, and the governor has no scope for exercising his discretion, he asserted.
That the build-up is happening ahead of the regular assembly session, which the governor is supposed to address as the head of the government, is adding to the suspense. The cabinet has already approved the text of the governor’s address, which is expected to include the government’s opposition to the Modi government’s anti-farmer farm laws.
Last year, on the similar contentious issue of citizenship amendment Act, there was much tension between the governor and the government over the inclusion of anti-Centre observations. Despite opposition from Arif Mohammad Khan, the Pinarayi Vijayan government retained the controversial paragraph.
Khan surprised everyone by strictly following the text of the address, but not before publicly expressing his disagreement over the controversial reference to the citizenship law.
Now, it will be the second year in a row that the governor has problems with the text of his address, but it is yet unclear as to whether he would use the same technique as last year’s.
Meanwhile, Assembly Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan described the governor’s action in refusing to call the special session as unconstitutional and asserted that the governor’s only option is to go by the recommendation of the cabinet.