Prominent leader of the backward caste Ezhava community and general secretary of the community’s outfit Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana Yogam (SNDP Yogam), Vellappally Natesan, on Friday took on the CPI(M)-led LDF government in Kerala over appointment of the vice-chancellor of newly established Open University that is named after social reformer Sree Narayana Guru.
SNDP Yogam had been established under the guidance of Narayana Guru.
Natesan asked why state Higher Education Minister K T Jaleel was “determined” not to appoint an Ezhava community member as the first V-C of the Open University, and that Jaleel should “answer for the wound inflicted upon the community” with this move.
The BJP also joined the issue, with its state unit president, K Surendran, saying that the appointment of Dr Mubarak Pasha as V-C was meant to further vote-bank politics.
CPI(M) state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan maintained that the issue should not be looked at from a religious or community point of view. What should matter, he said, is that the appointee should be capable.
On Wednesday, the state Cabinet appointed Pasha, currently head of Governance and Strategic Planning department at the Oman-based National University of Science and Technology, as Open University’s V-C. Before moving to West Asia, Pasha was principal of Farook College, Kozhikode, and had served as the director of Calicut University’s Distance Education Department.
The Ezhava community is predominantly a Left vote bank and community leader Natesan had stood with the state government even during the protests over entry of elder women to Sabarimala shrine in 2018 following a Supreme Court order.
On Friday, Natesan said the government has rejected the Yogam’s demand that a person with profound knowledge in Sree Narayana’s philosophy should be made the V-C. Calling it a betrayal by the state government, he said, “It is highly deplorable that the government repeated its stand of shooing away the backward community from seats of power. The appointment of V-C has left the community dejected. It has defeated the very purpose of establishing a university and thus blackened the image of the Left government.”
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