The West Bengal government will soon introduce a Bill in the state Assembly to make the the chief minister the chancellor of all state-run universities, PTI reported on Thursday. The governor currently holds the position of university chancellors.
“Today, the state Cabinet gave its consent to the proposal to make the chief minister the chancellor of all state-run universities in place of the governor,” Education Minister Bratya Basu told PTI.
Since 2019 when Jagdeep Dhankhar took over as the governor, he and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee have been criticising each other on several matters. Dhankhar has been a vocal critic of the Mamata Banerjee government.
On her part, Banerjee has accused Dhankhar of being a mouthpiece of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led central government. She has alleged that the governor interferes with the state government’s functioning.
In January, Dhankhar had alleged that the state government appointed 25 university vice chancellors without his consent, NDTV reported. In response, the state government had claimed that the education department has the right to appoint vice chancellors selected by the search committee if Dhankhar refused to approve the names.
The West Bengal government move also came a month after the Tamil Nadu Assembly had unanimously adopted a Bill allowing the state to appoint vice chancellors to universities.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin had said that the governor is supposed to appoint vice-chancellors in consultation with the state. However, Stalin had said, a new trend has emerged in which governors act like it is their prerogative to make the appointments. This behaviour “disrespects the elected government” and goes against the citizens’ rule, he had said.
Over the past few years, the governors in Tamil Nadu have rejected the state’s recommendations for candidates for the vice chancellors’ roles.