In an unprecedented move, the West Bengal Education Department is mulling to replace Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar as the Chancellor of different state universities with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in a break with the long-established custom.
Interacting with the media in a programme, state Education Minister Bratya Basu said: "The Governor does not extend any cooperation and unnecessarily holds back files, thus my department is constrained to consider replacing the Governor with the Chief Minister as the Chancellor of different universities."
The reactions came after the Governor came into direct conflict with the state government, alleging: "Education scenario @MamataOfficial worrisome as no Chancellor & VC of Private Universities turned up for meeting with Governor-Visitor. Shocking unionism".
The Governor had, on December 20, invited Chancellors and Vice Chancellors of 11 private universities to discuss the avenues of improving the education system in the state. However, they refused to attend the meeting and sent a letter to the office of the Governor expressing their inability to attend the meeting in the current Omicron situation.
The Governor again convened the same meeting on December 23, and assured the Chancellors and Vice Chancellors that the meeting will be conducted after maintaining Covid-19 protocols but still no one turned up. A furious Dhankhar, in a series of tweets, said: "It is really unfortunate that the chancellors and vice-chancellors who were 11 in number didn't turn up in a meeting with a visitor who is also the governor of the state. The same situation happened in 2020 there was a similar situation when the vice-chancellors of state universities didn't turn up for the meeting."
"These developments are alarming and it shows the rule of the ruler and not of law. The state government is making appointments of vice-chancellors ignoring the chancellor. I am now being forced to take a strong view of the developments and direct a revisit into all the appointments," he said, asking the UGC to look into the developments that are hampering the process of education in the state.
On the Governor's outburst, Basu said: "The Governor is only good at penning Twitter messages so we will consult legal brains on whether he can be replaced with the Chief Minister as Chancellor."