Student polls unnecessarily stalled, should be held in all varsities: Dhankharhttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/kolkata/student-polls-unnecessarily-stalled-should-be-held-in-all-varsities-dhankhar-6076928/

Student polls unnecessarily stalled, should be held in all varsities: Dhankhar

The Governor was at Jadavpur University to attend a court (the highest decision-making body of the institute) meeting on Friday.

Student polls unnecessarily stalled, should be held in all varsities: Dhankhar
West Bengal Governor and Chancellor of Jadavpur University Jagdeep Dhankhar interacts with the media after attending a meeting in Kolkata, Friday. (PTI)

Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on Friday reiterated that the Jadavpur University (JU) has a global reputation and it deserves the status of Institute of Eminence. He also said the students’ body election process was “unnecessarily stalled” and that polls should be conducted in all universities.

The Governor was at Jadavpur University to attend a court (the highest decision-making body of the institute) meeting on Friday. It was his first visit to JU almost a month after he had gone there to rescue Union minister Babul Supriyo who was gheraoed by a section of students.

“I came to Jadavpur Univerity today to attend a meeting of the court. We had an excellent meeting, everyone showed great interest. It is a good university with a global reputation and it deserves the status of institute of eminence. We will work together to get this status,” Dhankhar said during a press conference.

The governor, who is also the chancellor of state universities, came to the campus at 11 am and participated in the meeting with the vice-chancellor. The meeting, which lasted for over an hour, was also attended by the pro-vice-chancellor, registrar and heads of different departments.

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The Governor said the contribution made by JU is very unique and its contribution to the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is being hugely commended in a positive sense.

Dhankhar also said students have given him a representation, saying there must be peace on campus and there can be no growth of education unless good environment prevails in educational institutions.

“I invited their attention that there is a judgment of Calcutta High Court of 2014 that requires certain steps to be taken, so that there is peace on the campus and visits of outsiders must be controlled. The students were worried and they expressed their concern to me regarding elections. For two-and-a-half years the election process was unnecessarily stalled. I also feel when the Supreme Court has given guidelines on how to conduct elections, we must have had elections. I am happy that some process has been initiated, but it has to get to all the initiatives,” he said.

After putting students’ union polls on hold for over two years in four state universities, the West Bengal government on Thursday issued a notification allowing the varsities to conduct elections whenever they deem appropriate. A letter in this regard was sent by the assistant secretary of state for Higher Education Department to the vice-chancellors of Jadavpur University, Presidency University, Rabindra Bharati University and Diamond Harbour Women’s University on Thursday.

“With reference to the communication received from your end and consultations with different stakeholders, I am directed to inform you that you may hold the elections to the Students’ Union/Students’ Council as deemed fit,” the letter read.

Asked to comment on the September 19 incident when he had to come here to rescue Supriyo, Dhankhar said, “I had told the V-C that the situation must not get out of control. I came here for the interest of students. Peace on campus cannot be negotiated. Students complained against the entry of outsiders. I empathise with the students, alumni and faculty on the issue. I have raised issues that are of concern to everybody,” he said.

“I exhausted all steps and you must keep in mind there has to be someone to interact with students. They are impressionable minds. But there has to be a structured process to address certain things,” Dhankhar added.

The Governor also said that the issue of having a ‘gender sensitisation cell’ was also raised by the students. “The serious issue was raised by students that gender sensitisation cell which has been promoted by University Grants Commission (UGC) not here. I am afraid we need to have it. If we do not have it, we will be in a difficult situation,” Dhankar said.

In the meeting, the court and governor gave a recommendation of the executive council and unanimously resolved to have wider consultation in future. “The spectrum will be wider to keep the reputation and image of the institution and to pick the best talent available. Students and faculty members are welcome to interact with me extensively and chalk out a plan so that the great university can be on an incremental trajectory. There are few universities like Jadavpur in the country. This has to be at the top. Very satisfying visit.”

‘There should be wider consultation on Honoris Causa’

Dhankhar voiced his reservations about one of the four Honoris Causa recipients this year during meeting of Jadavpur University, but later agreed with the court saying there should be wider consultation in future. During the meeting, recipients of Honoris Causa for this year were finalised. “Unanimously the court took the decision and we also said in future there should be wider consultation,” Dhankhar said about finalising names of four eminent personalities to be conferred honorary DLitt and DSc at the varsity’s annual convocation on December 24.

Although the names of the recipients were not officially announced by the university on Friday, officials who attended the meeting said the Chancellor had initially expressed reservations about one of the four. Head of the Department of International Relations, Om Prakash Mishra, said the governor was requested to take note of the unanimous decision of the court.

‘Hurt by ministers’ statements against me

Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on Friday said he was hurt by statements made by state ministers against him. He referred to the statement made by state Panchayat minister Subrata Mukherjee regarding the Centre granting him a Z category security cover. Mukherjee on Thursday said the Governor approached the Centre for his security arrangement bypassing the state government.

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Reacting to this, Governor said, “To make a statement that the issue should have been first raised to the state government would mean that the issue has not been raised. The minister (Subrata Mukherjee) is not properly informed. Every time the governor says something sensible, you (state’s ministers) come out with a statement, which is beyond the limits of decorum. There have been painful statements by ministers. One of them wants me to be a tourist. I can’t be a tourist, I am a governor. I have to do my constitutional duty,” he said. “I leave it to the discretion of the chief minister to deal with her ministers the way she wants,” Dhankhar said.