The Kerala government has been in a fix after Governor Arif Mohammed Khan declined to sign the ordinance to increase the number of members in local self government departments in the state. The move by the state government comes with a year to go for the local body elections. This is the second time Governor Arif Mohammed Khan is declining to sign the ordinance.
According to reports, Governor Khan informally communicated to Local Self Government Department (LSGD) Minister AC Moideen that the government could get the issue passed in the state Assembly. If the Assembly can convene to pass the resolution on Citizenship Amendment Act, it can do so for this matter, the Governor is reported to have told Minister AC Moideen, according to a Malayala Manorama report.
The ordinance proposes to amend sections under the Kerala Panchayati Raj (KPR) Act and Kerala Municipality Act in order to increase the number of members by one in committees and councils of panchayats, municipalities and corporations. This was planned to be done according to the population status as per the 2011 Census.
The government had cited the increase in population as the reason to increase the number of members in local bodies.
It was in December 2019 that the state cabinet cleared the ordinance. But Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala of the Congress had given letters to the Governor asking him to refrain from signing the ordinance. As per reports, Chennithala’s claim was that the ordinance should not be passed before the 2021 Census. According to reports, the Governor has also informed the Minister AC Moideen that the claim of the opposition is reasonable.
Meanwhile, Minister AC Moideen reacted to the issue saying that he does not know why the Governor is taking such a decision. “If it gets passed in the state Assembly, this same Governor who now has a different opinion, will definitely have to sign it,” the Minister said. He also added that the government will decide whether the ordinance should be presented as a Bill in the state Assembly.
This isn’t the first time Governor Arif Mohammed Khan has expressed his opposition to a move by the LDF government. The Governor had come voiced his opposition to the Kerala Assembly’s resolution against the Citizenship Amendment Act.