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

April 5, 2024
Mita Mukherjee

West Bengal governor CV Ananda Bose has “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.

Basu, however, has raised the question on his X handle whether the governor has any authority to ask the state government to sack him.

Reacting to the governor’s “directive”, Basu wrote on his X handle: “The Indian Constitution clearly says the recommendation of appointment or removal of any minister lies with the chief minister. The chancellor has not only shown his true colours, he has exceeded his constitutional limit as well.”

“This is as laughable as myself recommending the removal of the governor to his HE (His Excellency) the President of India. If I have violated the poll code, it is the prerogative of a political party to bring it to the notice of the Election Commission of India, which will take appropriate action. By raising such an accusation, he has misused the constitutional post and proved his political identity.”

The education minister had presided over the first convention of the newly set up West Bengal College and University Professors’ Association (WBCUPA), a body of teachers of state-aided universities which is affiliated with the Trinamul Congress. The governor, who is also the ex-officio chancellor of all state universities has said that the minister has deliberately violated the Model Code of Conduct by attending the meeting.

According to a press statement issued by Raj Bhavan on Thursday evening: “In the light of the political meeting held in Gour Banga University under the leadership and presence of Shri Bratya Basu (Minister of Education) with other Ministers, MPs, MLAs and political leaders on 30th March, 2024, the Chancellor and Governor has directed the state government to take action against the erring Minister who has deliberately violated the election code of conduct, including his removal from the Cabinet.”

The tussle between the governor and the education minister came to fore soon after the minister participated in the convention of WBCUPA held inside the premises of the Gour Banga University on March 30.

On the following day the governor removed Rajat Kishore Dey, from the post of officiating vice-chancellor of Gour Banga University. Dey, a teacher of the Bengali department in the same university, had been appointed to the post by the governor himself.

Dismissing the VC’s removal, the education department on April 1 issued a directive to the university stating that Dey would “continue to exercise and perform the duties in the interest of students in particular and the university in general”.

Legal experts, veteran academics and senior officials of the government, however, opined that the chancellor could not direct the chief minister to remove a minister.

Also read: Bengal Governor, Education Minister clash over university appointments

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