Amid stiff opposition by Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) legislators, the West Bengal (WB) Assembly passed a bill that proposes to appoint the education minister as the ‘Visitor’ of all private universities in the state, replacing the governor,
The development comes a day after the assembly passed the West Bengal University Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2022, which seeks to make the chief minister the chancellor of all state-run universities, replacing the governor.
The West Bengal Private University Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2022 was passed by a voice vote, after opposition BJP MLAs staged a walkout, protesting against it.
The bill passed in the assembly proposes to make the state’s Education Minister Bratya Basu as the ‘Visitor’ of 11 private universities in place of Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar.
“There are so many private universities across the country. None of those have the governor as the Visitor. As per recommendations of the Punchhi Commission, it has been clearly stated that to be able to discharge the constitutional obligations fairly and impartially, the governor should not be burdened with positions and powers, which are not envisaged under the Constitution,” Basu said.
“The governor, who is the present chancellor, has violated rules and protocols on various occasions. The claim that he is an apolitical person is not right. He is very active politically,” the minister added.
“The BJP’s politics involves propagating hate and violence. They are trying to tarnish the image of our state. For their vested political interests, they have sacrificed the interests of the people of Bengal,” he said.
The saffron party, meanwhile, claimed that appointing the education minister as the Visitor would lead to direct political interference in the state’s higher education system. BJP MLAs later told reporters that they would urge the governor not to ratify the bill. “Passing these bills is nothing but politicisation of the state’s education system,” BJP MLA Ambika Roy said.
With inputs from PTI.