In an unprecedented move, Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan has asked all nine vice-chancellors of state universities to resign from their posts.

Noting that the action followed the Supreme Court’s order on the resignation of the Vice-Chancellor of the Kerala Technical University, he directed the Vice-Chancellors of Calicut, Sanskrit, KTU, CUSAT, Fisheries, Malayalam, MG, Kannur and Medical University to submit their papers by 11.30 am on Monday.

The governor’s office said the five vice-chancellors were asked to go because they were chosen without names during the vice-chancellor selection process and were therefore “politically selected”. The other four were selected through a process that did not include prominent subject matter experts on the selection committee, the report added.

Reacting to the​​​​order, CPI-M state secretary MV Govindan told mediapersons in Alappuzha that the party and the government will oppose the governor’s move, which is unconstitutional.

He said that the BJP and RSS, which cannot come to power directly, are trying to take power in the state through behind-the-scenes manoeuvres.

“This is a crazy decision by the governor and we will take all measures against it, including legal options,” Govindan said.

Government sources told IANS that the state higher education department is holding a meeting to decide on the future course of action. Department officials said the government is likely to order vice-chancellors not to respond to the governor’s directives.

Muslim League leader and former state education minister Mohammed Bashir told reporters that the governor’s decision was wrong. He said the governor has no such discretionary powers.

CPI-M Politburo member MA Baby, who is also a former state education minister, told mediapersons that the Kerala governor was functioning as an employee of the central government.

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