Unhappy with Bose’s move, Mamata threatens ‘economic blockade’ on universities


The conflict between West Bengal Governor CV Ananda Bose and the state government took an ugly turn on Tuesday with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee publicly announcing that the government would stop all payments to State universities if they complied with Raj Bhavan directives. The Chief Minister announced a “financial blockade” against the universities as a message to the Governor.
On Monday, state Education Minister Bratya Bose alleged that Governor CV Ananda Bose was “insulting Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and the duly elected Government” by appointing university Vice-Chancellors at will. On Tuesday, Mamata attended a teachers’ day program organised by the Government where she alleged: “The Governor is plotting to stall the education system. We do not accept this. What is he thinking? Is he bigger than the Chief Minister?” “If this state of affairs continues, let me tell you, then we shall be forced to create economic barriers. Let’s see who wins.’’ Mamata said: “Who pays the salaries of the universities?” “Remember, we pay the money for the Raj Bhavan in which you are sitting! The cost of the fan, the plane fare is for all the people.” The CM also announced that she may be “forced” to sit on dharna in front of the Raj Bhavan for the sake of the state’s education system. “In the middle of the night, the Vice-Chancellor of Jadavpur University was appointed. An IPS from Kerala has been made the Vice-Chancellor. In Rabindra Bharati, a judge has been made vice-chancellor. We will not accept this plot.
We shall not clear any bills of these universities.” A Raj Bhavan notification issued on 2 September stated that Vice-Chancellors were in-charge of universities, second to the Chancellor. Governor Bose also directed university staff to work according to the instructions of the VC. The Government can instruct them, he said, but they are not obliged to obey. Late on Sunday, the Raj Bhavan appointed new interim vice-chancellors to 16 universities without consulting the state. Rabindra Bharati University’s interim Vice-Chancellor and retired Justice Subhro Kamal Mukherjee took charge as the Vice-Chancellor of Presidency University on Monday, serving as interim VC in two universities simultaneously. The State Education Department on Monday said such appointments were “illegal”. Bikash Bhavan also sent a letter to the Governor and said that the notification issued by the Raj Bhavan was in contravention of state laws. In the midst of this, it the Trinamool Congress is reportedly considering bringing a motion against Bose in the Assembly.