Mamata Banerjee set to replace Governor as Chancellor at state-run universities, West Bengal cabinet clears proposal

The Cabinet also approved a proposal to remove the Governor as Visitor at private universities. The decision will be taken up for approval in the state Assembly where the ruling Trinamool Congress is in majority.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee with Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar at the Bengal Global Business Summit 2022 in Kolkata. (IE Image)

The West Bengal cabinet on Monday gave its nod to replace Governor Jagdeep Dhankar and appoint Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee as the Chancellor of all state-run universities under different departments like Health, Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Minority Affairs Department instead, news agency PTI reported. The Cabinet also approved a proposal to remove the Governor as Visitor at private universities.

The decision will be taken up for approval in the state Assembly where the ruling Trinamool Congress is in majority. On May 26, the state cabinet had passed a resolution to remove Dhankar, and make Mamata the chancellor in his place.

Following the state cabinet’s proposal, Dhankar hit out at the Mamata government calling it her government’s media stunt to remove focus from pressing issues.

“I am not concerned about what the government does unless the papers come to me. As and when papers come to me, I will take a call according to constitutional provisions,” Dhankar told mediapersons.

Jagdeep Dhankhar noted that “a bill becomes an act only when the governor signs on it. An ordinance is also issued when the governor gives consent.”

Pointing out that the recruitment process in the state-run educational institutions as “sullied and tainted”, Dhankar called it a “disgrace.”

“We cannot allow our temples of education and the career of our students to suffer,” he said.

Earlier, Dhankar had claimed that the Bengal government had appointed vice-chancellors of several varsities without his consent. Dhankhar had complained that vice-chancellors of 24 universities have been “appointed illegally without the chancellor’s approval”. The Governor has had frequent run-ins with the Mamata government over several issues from political killings to law and order situation to the teachers’ recruitment scam.

The move to remove Dhankar comes days after an official had told news agency PTI that the proposal to remove Dhankar as the ‘visitor’ of private varsities was discussed at a state cabinet meeting on Thursday. The officer further claimed that the process to remove the Governor was already set in motion as all the members present had supported the proposed move.

“There is a proposal for altering the law so that the governor can be replaced by the education minister as the ‘visitor’ of private varsities. In Thursday’s Cabinet meeting, there was a discussion on this and the proposal was supported by the members,” the official was quoted by news agency PTI as saying.

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