Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan, in his address to the Assembly on Friday, adopted a stand against farm laws, the labour code and the central government agencies probing the gold smuggling case. Referring to the 2019 Citizenship Amendment Act, the address said the state government is committed to defending secular values.
The Opposition, UDF legislators led by the Congress, boycotted the Governor’s address in the Assembly. Lone BJP legislator O Rajagopal did not join the boycott and sat through the address.
Referring to the central agencies’ probe into the gold smuggling case, the Governor said, “Actions of certain Central Government agencies have overstepped the constitutional contours. The Central agencies are impeding the development activities and flagship programmes undertaken by the state. This has had a demoralising effect on honest and hardworking officers. In such a situation, cooperative federalism will lose its content and remain only in form. The state government had never compromised on the view that cooperative federalism should be meaningful and the Centre and states should be equal partners for a harmonious development process. Anything which runs counter to this does not conform to federal principles.’’
On the farm laws, he said, “There has also been a spate of central legislations whose common denominator, my government holds, is abridgment of state rights. The latest in the series have been the controversial labour code and agrarian laws. These agrarian laws will undermine regulated markets, result in eventual demise of minimum support price and tilt the balance of bargaining power definitively in favour of corporate middlemen.’’
The address also hailed the recent nationwide strike of workers, saying it had been one of the largest of its kind against the new labour legislation.
Referring to the CAA, the Governor said, “My government is committed to foster the constitutional values among the citizenry. We have been in the forefront of defending secular values. When apprehensions were raised regarding the consequences of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019, we have taken the lead in alleviating the fears among large sections of the society. The government is fully committed to strengthen the secular traditions of Kerala and shall strive to promote secular and progressive values in the social, cultural and political spheres.’’
The address also blamed the Union government for the hike in fuel prices. “Now that crude oil prices are firming up, the Central Government is now enhancing the additional/special excise duty so that the oil companies are raising the retail prices for maintaining their margin,’’ the Governor said.