The Assembly of West Bengal has passed a bill to make Prime Minister Mamata Banerjee the chancellor of state universities. Usually, the position is held by the governor of a state. The bill was passed amid opposition by BJP lawmakers.
State Minister of Education Bratya Basu, after the introduction of The West Bengal University Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2022 in the House. Basu said there was “nothing wrong” with the prime minister taking over as chancellor. “Why can’t the prime minister be the chancellor of state universities when the prime minister is the chancellor of a central university – Visva Bharati? You can go through the recommendations of the Punchhi Commission… The governor, who is the current chancellor, has violated protocols on several occasions,” Basu was quoted as saying by PTI.
The bill was passed after 182 members voted in favor of the legislation and 40 against in the 294-member Assembly. Against the bill, the opposition BJP argued that appointing the prime minister as chancellor would lead to direct “political interference” in the state’s higher education system.
“The state government wants to control everything. The decision to appoint the CM as the chancellor of universities is taken to facilitate direct interference by the ruling party in the state’s education system,” claimed BJP MLA Agnimitra Paul.
— With inputs from PTI
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