Kolkata: The West Bengal assembly on Monday passed a bill that sought to replace Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee as the chancellor of all state-run universities. Opposition to the bill by BJP legislators was in vain; they had alleged that appointing the chief minister as chancellor would lead to direct “political interference” in the state’s higher education system.
State education minister Bratya Basu, after introducing the West Bengal University Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2022 in the House, said there was “nothing wrong” in the chief minister taking over as the chancellor.
Basu said, “Why can’t the chief minister be the chancellor of state universities if the Prime Minister is the chancellor of a central university – Visva Bharati? You can go through the recommendations of the Punchhi Commission... The governor, who is the present chancellor, has violated protocols on various occasions.”
The bill was passed after 182 members voted in favour of the legislation and 40 against it in the 294-member Assembly. BJP MLA Sgnimitra Paul alleged, “The state government wants to control everything. The decision to appoint the CM as chancellor of universities is being taken to facilitate direct interference of the ruling party in the state’s education system.”