West Bengal Education Minister Bratya Basu dropped a bombshell on Friday by making a statement that the State government is considering removing the ‘Governor’ and making ‘Chief Minister’ as the ‘Chancellor’ of all the Government-run Universities for better coordination.
Addressing a press conference, Basu accused Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar of holding files and notes which is causing great difficulties in the functioning of the Education Ministry.
“The whole idea is to bring the Chief Minister to that post as a Chancellor of the State-run Universities for the better functioning of the ministry. Lawyers are being consulted in this regard. We are facing a problem as the Governor is doing illegal things and sending our files to cold storage,” Basu said.
“We are facing non-cooperation from the Governor and therefore, we will be compelled to do the same here in West Bengal. I will look into the Constitution and take the advice of lawyers if necessary. We would like to ask the lawyers whether we can bring our Chief Minister to the post of Chancellor of the State Universities for the interim period,” he added.
The standoff between the State Government and the Governor has been going on ever since he became the constitutional head of the State.
Recently, the situation turned bitter after Dhankhar summoned the vice-chancellors of the private universities in the State for a meeting. This created a new situation of conflict.
On December 20, the Governor had invited them to a meeting and later rescheduled it on December 23 after the private universities officials had expressed their inability to attend it citing the Covid-19/Omicron scare.
In this context, the Education Minister alleged that the Governor is now threatening private universities board members in the UGC. “Earlier they used to scare us with the help of CBI and ED and now they are threatening us with UGC,” Basu said.
Basu’s statement came after Dhankar alleged, “It is unfortunate that chancellors and vice-chancellors of 11 private universities have not turned up for a meeting with the visitor who is also the Governor of the State.”
In a video message, showing empty chairs arranged for the meeting at the Raj Bhavan, the Governor said, “This is alarming and indicates rule of the ruler and not of law. Such a scenario cannot be countenanced.”
Later, he tweeted, “Education scenario @MamataOfficial worrisome as no Chancellor & VC of Pvt Univ turned up for meeting with Governor-Visitor. Shocking unionism.”
Dhankhar alleged that the State government is making appointments of vice-chancellors ignoring the chancellor, and he is being forced to take a strong note of the situation.
“I direct all these appointments to be revisited. The UGC needs to engage in a serious probe about private universities as they breach several regulations,” Dhankhar said.
With inputs from News18