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Ananda Bose

Bengal governor orders inquiry into university campus misuse before elections

April 5, 2024
Mita Mukherjee

The conflict between West Bengal governor, CV Ananda Bose and the Mamata Banerjee government continued on Friday with Bose ordering a judicial inquiry to probe the alleged corruption, violence and misuse of university campuses before the elections.

The governor, the ex-officio chancellor of all state-aided universities, said that the inquiry will be conducted by a retired judge of the High Court or Supreme Court.

“Chancellor and Governor ordered Judicial enquiry into corruption, violence and misuse of University campuses in West Bengal for electioneering and political purposes. Enquiry will be headed by a one man Commission headed by a retired judge of the Hon. Supreme Court/High Court,” a statement issued by the governor read.

Barely 24 hours before ordering the judicial inquiry, governor Bose on Thursday had “directed” the Mamata Banerjee government to remove state education minister Bratya Basu from her cabinet allegedly for holding a political meeting and violating the Model Code of Conduct.

Education minister Basu had promptly reacted to the “directive” and raised the question on his X handle whether the governor has any authority to ask the state government to sack him.

Bose on Thursday had also raised objection to a statement posted by Basu where he had labeled Bose “insane”, which the governor had countered saying that Basu’s comment was an attempt to “spoil” the relationship between him and chief minister Mamata Banerjee.

The simmering tension between the state government and the governor had been continuing since March 30 over the issue of a convention that was organized by West Bengal College and University Teachers’ Association (WBCUPA), a newly set up Trinamul Congress affiliated body of  teachers of state-aided universities in Bengal.

Governor Bose issued a “report card” on state universities on March 3 where he came down heavily on the state government for its attempt “ to control the universities in West Bengal.’

He cited a number of verdicts of the court to answer the questions raised by the state government in public domain regarding his role in the running of state-aided universities.

The state government on Thursday night issued a statement to counter the charges brought by the governor in his “report card” where the government has charged the chancellor of usurping the powers of the state government in respect of running the universities.

“The Hon’ble Governor has in the capacity of the Chancellor by way of the Report Card has sought to undermine and usurp the powers of State Govt and the function of State aided Universities by transgressing the powers given to him by various statutes, and by self-assuming the powers which are clearly and categorically not catered for, with the sole intention to unilaterally run the State Aided Universities in a mode and manner suitable to him alone, with scant regard to the applicable law and the governing statutes,” the statement issued by the state government on Thursday evening said.

 After the education minister participated in the convention of WBCUPA held inside the premises of the Gour Banga University on March 30, the governor removed Rajat Kishore Dey, from the post of officiating vice-chancellor of Gour Banga University the next day.

The education department on April 1 issued a directive to Gour Banga University  allowing Dey to continue to exercise and perform the duties of the officiating vice-chancellor in the interest of students in particular and the university in general.

Also read: Bengal: Governor orders removal of education minister by Mamata Banerjee government

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