The state cabinet Monday gave its approval to renaming of the University of Pune as ‘Savitribai Phule Pune University’, a year after the university senate sent its proposal in this regard to the government.
The move is being seen as a bid to please Other Backward Class communities ahead of the Assembly elections. The OBCs in the state had long been demanding that the university be named after the prominent 19th century social reformer.
Last year, the university’s senate passed a resolution approving the renaming and sent a proposal to the higher and technical education department, but a final decision was awaited.
Incidentally, senior NCP minister Chhagan Bhujbal walked out of the June 2 cabinet meeting protesting against the delay.
The Mahatma Phule Samata Parishad founded by Bhujbal had been aggressively pushing for the renaming.
Welcoming the decision, senior senate member Gajanan Ekbote, who was instrumental in tabling the renaming proposal, said a large section of the society was in favour of this. “Now, each one associated with the university will have to be more cautious in keeping the reputation and honour of the university intact,” he said.
Another senate member Nandkumar Nikam said the official process of renaming the university would take place once the necessary orders were received through the office of the Maharashtra governor, who is ex officio chancellor of all public universities in the state.
Neeta Hole, descendant of the Phule family, said the renaming would be a big tribute to her ancestor. “Savitribai paved the foundation of girls’ education in the country. It is befitting to name University of Pune after her,” she said.
Vice-Chancellor Wasudeo Gade could not be reached for his comments.