Bengal Governor CV Ananda Bose’s move to appoint interim vice-chancellors of seven universities, including Presidency University, has stirred a hornet’s nest. State education minister Bratya Basu likened him to “James Bond” and said Vice-President Jagdeep Dhankhar, who was his predecessor in Bengal’s Raj Bhavan, compared favourably.
On Sunday, in his capacity as the Chancellor of state-run universities, the Governor had appointed Vice-Chancellors for seven universities. Besides Presidency, the list includes Maulana Abul Kalam Azad University of Technology and University of Burdwan, Netaji Subhas Open University and West Bengal University of Animal and Fishery Sciences.
“The earlier Governor at least used to move files. If I sent a file, he would send a note and I would send a note in return. If we disagreed, we argued, and he knew the law as he was a senior lawyer…There was discussion and dialogue, it was not a monologue like this,” Bratya Basu said today.
“He never left out the state government on decisions. Every time I have spoken to Jagdeep Dhankhar, he wanted to sit at the table and discuss things. We argued over the law, and it happened face to face. But he was not silent operator like James Bond,” Mr Basu added.
The appointments come in the wake of a long war of words. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has bitterly criticised the Governor over the appointments, especially those where the appointees do not have an academic background.
Prof Raj Kumar Kothari has been appointed Interim VC of West Bengal State University, while Justice Subhrakamal Mukherjee, who currently holds interim charge of Rabindra Bharati University, will also be the interim Vice-Chancellor of Presidency University.
The Governor’s office has argued that the university statutes do not require Vice-Chancellors to have an academic background.