Arif Mohammad Khan, the governor-designate for Kerala, took his oath on Friday at the Raj Bhavan in Thiruvananthapuram in the state’s native language of Malayalam.
Hailing from Uttar Pradesh, Khan was expected to take his oath in English or Hindi. But he surprised many by taking the oath first in Malayalam, reading from a paper and then taking it again in English. Kerala Chief Justice Hrishikesh Roy administered the oath to Khan as the state’s chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan stood in attendance.
Khan arrived in Kerala Thursday and was given a guard of honour. He has promised to look closely into the damage the state has suffered in the backdrop of back-to-back floods.
Khan, a former Congress leader who has been a strong proponent of the abolition of instant triple talaq, was picked for the gubernatorial post in a surprise appointment by the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre last week. He has been a member of the UP Legislative Assembly and the Lok Sabha. He has been a minister at the Centre in the cabinets of both Rajiv Gandhi and VP Singh. He had famously resigned from the Gandhi government in 1986 over its position on the Shah Bano case.
He replaced P Sathasivam, a former Chief Justice of India, after the latter completed five years of his tenure as the state governor. Khan’s appointment in a state where the BJP has been making sustained efforts to gain a foothold is politically important. Khan’s views was widely seen as critical in the Centre’s move to abolish instant triple talaq and get the bill passed in both Houses of Parliament. In 2004, Khan had joined the BJP, but left it as he felt ‘ignored’ within the leadership.
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