West Bengal Governor CV Ananda Bose on Thursday said he will continue his fight to make state universities free of corruption and violence.
His comments come at a time when the state government and the Raj Bhavan are embroiled in a war of words over the appointments of interim vice-chancellors of some state universities by the governor who is also chancellor of all state varsities.
The Trinamool Congress said Mr Bose is conducting himself as dictated by BJP and not performing the role of the governor as defined in the Constitution and urged him to shun the confrontationist approach and sit for discussions.
Speaking about the Raj Bhavan’s recent move to appoint interim VCs, Mr Bose in a video message said, “I have appointed them as the apex court ruled against some of the appointments earlier made by the state government.” Alleging interim VCs appointed by him were being harassed, he said, “Five (interim) VCs had to resign. Why? They told me they were being threatened by goons, senior IAS officers were exerting pressure on them. This is what the (interim) VCs told me in confidence. That is why five of them resigned. I did not ask them to resign. They resigned out of fear.” “There were allegations of corruption, sexual harassment and political interference against some VCs who were earlier appointed,” he claimed.
About the claims by the state government that he was overstepping his limits by appointing interim vice-chancellors of state universities, Bose said, “The Hon’ble Supreme Court has ordered you (higher education department) … your action was held illegal. The VCs appointed had to resign. Who will then be the VC? In such a situation, I appointed interim VCs.” After the initial appointment of interim VCs by him a few months ago, the state education department described the action as wrong.
“The high court observed my action was right,” Guvorner Bose said.
Elaborating on the allegations against some of the VCs, he said, “There are charges of corruption against some, charges of harassment of female students by some others, while some others are involved in a political game. That is the reason I could not go by the choice of the state while appointing interim VCs.” “I want universities in the state to be free of violence, free of corruption and be the best in India,” Mr Bose said.
He vowed in the name of Rabindranath Tagore, Netaji Subhas Chandra and Swami Vivekananda to continue to fight for a “corruption-free academia”.
Referring to the recent death of an undergraduate student of Jadavpur University, he said, “This was one of the saddest moment of campus cannibalism.” “An innocent boy, a 17-year-old youth, lost his life… in a great university like JU. I am taking a vow, I am swearing by the name of Netaji, Rabindranath Tagore, Swami Vivekananda that we will fight this battle till the end. This death will come under the scope of investigation,” he said.
Mr Bose said Bengal’s GenNext is the state’s biggest asset.
Quoting Tagore’s ‘Banglar Mati Banglar Jol’ song, he said “We want to do some good work for Bengal.
“I wish to see a Bengal whose talent pool of students and learned professors take our universities to the top rung, make our universities as the best in the country,” he said.
The governor said “Let us fight against corruption. Let us fight for our children.” His response came days after Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s blistering attack against him during a Teachers’ Day programme, where she accused him of interfering in the state’s education system, and threatened to sit on a dharna outside Raj Bhavan if the governor continued to function in this manner.
TMC spokesperson Kunal Ghosh said, “the statement by CV Ananda Bose testifies again that he is conducting himself as dictated by BJP, at the behest of BJP, to satisfy his BJP bosses.” “Issues which could have been sorted out and solved in a concerted manner between the state and Raj Bhavan, in the interest of higher education sector of West Bengal, in the interest of the student community, are being kept alive and unnecessary controversy created. We tell him there is still time to shun confrontationist approach and sit for talks with the government,” Ghosh told reporters.
Supporting Mr Bose, opposition BJP said the governor said the right thing and whatever he is doing is for the interest of the state.
BJP spokesperson Samik Bhattacharya said, “The TMC has brought the educational scenario in the state to a sorry state by its tendency to politicise the higher educational sector, putting its own men everywhere. As having pointed out by him, the governor is trying to clean up the mess created by TMC in the interest of higher education sector, as he is concerned about the suffering of students. Instead of supporting him, TMC resorts to ugly attacks on hon’ble governor which we protest.” Attacking Mr Bose over the appointments, Banerjee had on Tuesday alleged that the governor was appointing interim VCs according to his whims by ignoring the state-appointed search committee.
Noting that VCs must be picked from the names suggested by the five-member search committee, she alleged that Mr Bose was appointing people at his will with no regard to the suggestions of the panel.
She had promised a ‘tit-for-tat’ action and threatened to block funding to all state universities that followed the governor’s directions.
“I will see how you give salaries to these vice-chancellors (appointed by Bose),” she had said.
In his capacity as chancellor of West Bengal’s state universities, the governor had appointed eight interim VCs recently.
In a recent interview to PTI, Bose had said the Calcutta HC has said that on appointments of VCs, the governor needs to consult the state government, but has upheld that he does not need the state’s concurrence in appointing VCs.
Referring to the student death in JU, he had said, our universities have become highly politicised. … “Universities are suffering from hooliganism which outsiders have imported into the campus,” he had said.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)