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May seek legal opinion on nominating CM Mamata Banerjee as Chancellor of all Bengal varsities: Bratya Basu

🔴 West Bengal education minister Basu told mediapersons that the Governor “instead of cooperating with the state government is showing only hostility.”

By: Express News Service | Kolkata |
Updated: December 25, 2021 11:31:03 am
West Bengal education minister Bratya Basu

HOURS AFTER Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar expressed anguish at vice-chancellors of private universities in the state not attending a meeting convened by him at Raj Bhawan here, state education minister Bratya Basu on Friday said the government was considering seeking legal opinion on nominating Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee as Chancellor of all universities in the state.

Basu told mediapersons that the Governor “instead of cooperating with the state government is showing only hostility.”

“If files are kept pending for his assent for indefinite time and he continues to show little cooperation, we can think of implementing what the Governor of Kerala [Arif Mohammad Khan] has said… if needed we will look at the Constitutional aspect of it and seek legal opinion to have the Chief Minister as the Chancellor of the state universities for an interim period,” said the minister.

Basu added that the Governor’s job has been reduced to tweeting and remaining active on social media. “He [Dhankhar] is forgetting the job of a Governor. He is busy sending out tweets. No previous Governor of the state has behaved like this. If the statements of Kerala Governor is applicable for that state, it can be applicable for all Bengal varsities states under the federal structure.”

Earlier this month, alleging that pressure is being put on him to do things in “total violation of rules and procedures”, Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan wrote to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan saying he wants to step down as the Chancellor of universities and that Vijayan can step into that slot. In a hard-hitting letter on December 8, released now, Khan has asked the CM to amend the Act concerned regarding this.

The strong reaction from West Bengal Education Minster came after Dhankhar tweeted that no Vice-Chancellor or representatives of private universities had turned up for a meeting with him and described the development as “shocking unionism”.

“Education scenario @MamataOfficial worrisome as no Chancellor & VC of Pvt Univ turned up for meeting with Governor-Visitor. Shocking unionism,” he said, tagging videos and photograph of empty chairs and Raj Bhawan.

“Emergence of Unionism with State Universities VCs in January 20 & now with Pvt Univ indicative of intense fear quotient and reflective of Rule of ruler and not law. VCs being appointed @MamataOfficial without Chancellor authorisation mockery of law. Forced to take lawful stance,” he added. The governor had earlier invited them to a meeting on December 20 and later rescheduled it on Thursday after officials of the private universities had expressed their inability to attend it citing the Covid-19 situation.

“It is most unfortunate that chancellors and vice-chancellors of private universities, 11 in number, have not turned up for a meeting with the visitor who is also the governor of the state,” Dhankhar said in video message.

“These developments are alarming and indicate rule of the ruler and not of law. Such a scenario cannot be countenanced,” he said.

Dhankhar further said the state government is making appointments of vice-chancellors ignoring the chancellor and he is being forced to take a strong view of such developments.

“I direct all these appointments be revisited. UGC needs to engage into serious probe about private universities as I find they are in breach of several regulations, particularly qua the visitor,” Dhankhar said.

He added, “It cannot be put under the control of the government, it has to be in accordance with the law of the land.”

Meanwhile, All Bengal University Teachers Association said, “any move to appoint a political personality to the post will not be accepted.” Similarly, Partha Pratim Roy, general secretary of Jadavpur University Teachers Association, said, “We may support the proposal of removing the governor from the post. But appointing a political person as the chancellor of universities is a disastrous idea.”

(With PTI inputs)

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