On the face of it,party politics may not exist in the M S University (MSU),but results of the Syndicate elections speak otherwise. They reflect groupism and involvement of government machinery as well as the sangh parivar in varsity politics.
Even as the sangh parivars backing to the Syndicate has been a common trend over the years,the MSU authorities do not seem to be too happy with the results. The reason: the members who have bounced back to the Syndicate were at loggerheads with the authorities on several issues. Eighty-three Senate members elected four representatives in the teachers category,including Rameshwari Pandya,Adeesh Jain,Amit Dholakia and Shirish Kulkarni.
Ironically,Baroda Teachers Union Association (BUTA) president I I Pandya,who had been a Syndicate member for five consecutive terms,lost the elections due to 16 invalid votes of which 15 were in his favour.
Pandya told Newsline,I had asked the university authorities to create a separate ballot for the teachers and professors categories. But they stuck to the varsity statutes.
Pandya was targeted in the 2003 Syndicate elections too. At that time,an anonymous missive was circulated among the Senate members to rethink voting for him.
A member of the sangh parivar said: The important part of this election is the Syndicate being swept by the sangh parivar panel and not the Congress. We have proved our point. He added: It is reported that the Pragnesh Shah panel won the elections. It is not just Shah but the entire sangh parivar,which was involved in the elections,won.
Cassim Unia,a Senate member,said: The whole government machinery is after the Syndicate elections. University Syndicate elections should not become a political arena. Educational institutions should stay away from politics of this nature.
Nevertheless,Vice-Chancellor Ramesh Goyal chose to continue with the policy of following the MSU statutes and rules.
Groups may come and go; my duty is to follow the university statutes and I will abide by them, he said.
He added: The Syndicate is like the universitys board of governance However,it is observed that some groups meddle with the administration,which is not right.