Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar takes on Mamata Banerjee’s govt over universities

Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar takes on Mamata Banerjee’s govt over universities


Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar and teh Bengal government have at loggerheads ever since he took charge in July last year.

A day after appointing Professor Goutam Chandra as pro-Vice Chancellor of Burdwan University West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar locked horns with the Mamata Banerjee administration yet again on Tuesday over the way state-run state universities are functioning.

While in December 2019, the Bengal government had introduced a rule asking state-run universities to route all their communications with the governor through the higher education department, Dhankhar on Tuesday issued an order setting aside the six-month old rule.

“Such communications are not required to be routed through any authority. Several vice chancellors have routed communications through the higher education department quoting provisions of the 2019 rules. Such a stance betrays lack of appreciation that no rule can override a provision of the Act,” the Governor’s order said.

The governor by virtue of his position is the chancellor of all state-run universities.

On Monday, Dhankhar appointed Professor Goutam Chandra as the pro vice-chancellor of Burdwan University without consulting the state administration. State education minister Partha Chatterjee called the governor a ‘BJP man’.

“This is very unfortunate. We sent him our choice, but he appointed a person not on the list. He always wanted to appoint people loyal to the BJP. This is not done. We will not accept him in that position. The governor should have remembered that the government pays his salaries,” said Chatterjee.

Ever since he assumed office on July 30, 2019, Dhankhar has been at loggerheads with the ruling Trinamool Congress TMC on a host of issues. Chief minister Mamata Banerjee once called him “an agent” of the Centre.

In December 2019 the higher education department issued a gazette notification that abolished the chancellor’s secretariat, reduced the chancellor’s role in choosing vice-chancellors, took away his power to convene meetings of the highest bodies of the universities or take action against vice-chancellors.

The Bharatiya Janata Party lashed out at the TMC for changing the protocol and accused it of neither abiding by tradition nor the Constitution.

“Will they not abide by any tradition? Will they not follow what’s in the Constitution? It is the governor’s right,” said Rahul Sinha, national secretary of the BJP.