Calls to recall Lakshadweep administrator grow; 8 in BJP resign
In protest against Lakshadweep administrator Praful Khoda Patel's controversial new regulations, eight members of the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) youth wing have resigned. Reportedly, other resignations are likely as members ask President Ram Nath Kovind to recall Patel. Critics in the BJP and the Opposition alike have accused Patel of autocratic governance and issuing "anti-people" orders. Here are more details.
Eight members of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) sent their resignation to BJP's National Vice President AP Abdullah Kutty on Monday. Those who resigned included BJYM General-Secretary PP Mohammed Hashim, former state Vice President MC Muthukoya, former Treasurer B Shukoor, former President MI Mohammed, and members PP Jamhar, Anwar Hussain, Afsal N, and Ramees N.
Congress leader Shashi Tharoor had shared the letter, written in Malayalam, on Twitter on Wednesday. In the letter, the BYJM members accuse Patel of "undemocratic actions" and taking "one-sided decisions." They also warned that the administrator was destroying the peace and tranquility of Lakshadweep.
Hashim told The Times of India that others in the BYJM were also frustrated over Patel's proposals including a blanket beef ban and a new draft regulation that aims to prevent anti-social activities. "The administrator doesn't listen to anyone and foists his orders on us. We decided to quit as the administrator's rule is disrupting the life of the islanders," he said.
Patel's policies will fundamentally change Lakshadweep's society and environment, according to residents. The Draft Lakshadweep Development Authority Regulation, 2021 has drawn criticism for the proposed creation of an arbitrary land development structure, which gives wide powers to the administration to acquire private land. Opposition leaders and political activists have also claimed that the BJP is targeting Lakshadweep's largely Muslim population.
BJP's Lakshadweep unit General Secretary HK Mohammed Kasim also joined the protests on Tuesday. He said in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi that Patel does not support the BJP's efforts to reach out to people about the new regulations. Kasim said the some of the residents' grievances were "genuine," adding that it is "always good" to seek the public's opinion.
Opposition leaders have written to the President, either seeking the reversal of Patel's decision or his removal as administrator. Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan also said Monday that the situation in Lakshadweep threatens its life and culture adding, "Such moves are unacceptable."