Published: 06th June 2022
WB cabinet gives nod to introduce Bill to replace governor with CM as chancellor of universities
The decision will be debated in the West Bengal Legislative Assembly in the monsoon session starting June 10
After a Cabinet meeting on Monday, June 6, the West Bengal government approved the appointment of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee as Chancellor of all state-run universities under various sectors such as Health, Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Minority Affairs Department.
The decision will be debated in the West Bengal Legislative Assembly, which is controlled by the ruling TMC, in the monsoon session starting June 10, according to an ANI report. The action is seen as a result of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's long-running feud with Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar. The Governor is currently the Chancellor of all State Universities. Dhankar is the ex-officio Chancellor of 17 universities in West Bengal, according to the Governor's official website.
On May 26, the West Bengal Cabinet approved the introduction of a Bill that would replace the Governor as Chancellor of all state-run universities with the Chief Minister. The BJP was outraged by the decision. BJP leader Amit Malviya had slammed Mamata Banerjee's decision, calling it an "assault on federalism" and "another attempt to evade accountability and transparency". In the meantime, West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar met with Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday.
The education department has stated on multiple occasions that the state is considering having the chief minister or educational experts serve as interim chancellors instead of the governor, similar to what Tamil Nadu and Kerala have done. Kerala governor Arif Mohammed Khan reportedly sought to resign as chancellor of state institutions in December 2021 due to purported conflicts with the Pinarayi Vijayan government. The state assembly of Tamil Nadu passed a measure in April to establish a medical university, with chief minister MK Stalin as its chancellor.