Dr Ashish Deshmukh
Dr Ashish Deshmukh

Mumbai: Congress leader Ashish Deshmukh on Thursday sparked a controversy after his appeal to CM Uddhav Thackeray for the cancellation of appointementd of pro-RSS vice-chancellors and registrars in all the state universities.

The appointments were made during the previous BJP-led government between 2014 and 2019. He raised the issue after the ‘Gandhi Shanti Yatra’ organised by former Union finance minister Yashwant Sinha was kickstarted at the Gateway of India by NCP Chief Sharad Pawar.

“The JNU VC is pro-RSS. From the JNU incidents, we can imagine what may happen if such persons head our universities. If we don’t want JNU-like situation in Maharashtra, the appointment of pro-RSS VCs will have to be revoked,” Deshmukh said.

Deshmukh, who lost to former CM Devendra Fadnavis in Nagpur South West Assembly constituency, said he will soon meet Thackeray to make a formal request.

Deshmukh alleged the RSS has dominance in the education sector as people with RSS ideology and affiliation were strategically appointed on key posts in the state’s every university. “If they are not removed, BJP and its affiliates would soon vitiate the atmosphere on our campuses,” he warned.

However, BJP attacked Deshmukh, who was elected as BJP nominee in the 2014 poll and later migrated to Congress, for his statement terming it a mere publicity stunt.

Former minister of schools education Ashish Shelar alleged the MVA government was playing vendetta politics. “Is there anything wrong if pro-RSS persons were appointed in the universities? Are they anti-nationals or pro-Pakistanis or pro-ISI?” he questioned.

He defended such appointments made by the previous government, saying the government should not be vindictive.

Former minister of higher and technical education Vinod Tawde advised Deshmukh to first study the concerned laws and then make a statement.

“The govt has not interfered with the appointments of vice-chancellor in universities,” he noted.

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