West Bengal Governor C.V. Ananda Bose on Thursday invited Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee as his “honoured guest” to stage any protest she may wish to hold inside the Raj Bhavan.
“I request my esteemed constitutional colleague, the honourable CM to come inside the Raj Bhavan and hold protests if she wants. Why should she be standing outside? We welcome her with open arms?” the Governor said while speaking to reporters at the airport in Kolkata.
The Chief Minister on September 5 had said that she will hold a “dharna” outside Raj Bhawan if the Governor continues “holding back” Bills passed by the State Assembly.
Earlier in the day the Governor said that he will continue his fight to rid state universities of corruption and violence. The Governor in a video message in Bengali tried to explain why he had appointed interim Vice-Chancellors to State-run universities.
“The Hon’ble Supreme Court has ordered you (higher education department) ... your action was held illegal. The VCs appointed had to resign. Who will then be the VC? In such a situation I appointed interim VCs.” Mr. Ananda Bose said.
VCs quit out of fear
The Governor also added that he did not force anyone to resign from the post of vice chancellor. “Five (interim) VCs had to resign. Why? They told me they were being threatened by goons, senior IAS officers were pressuring them. This is what the (interim) VCs told me in confidence. That is why five of them resigned. I did not ask them to resign. They resigned out of fear,” the Governor said.
In another development a section of academicians said that they will hold a protest gathering before the Raj Bhavan gates here. A “peaceful and silent protest” will be held on September 8, Educationists’ Forum spokesperson and former Vice Chancellor of North Bengal University Om Prakash Mishra said in a statement. “We will also protest against the inaction of the governor over the bills passed by the West Bengal Legislative Assembly on subjects relating to higher education, which is unconstitutional,” Prof Mishra said.
None of the 31 State run Universities in West Bengal have full time Vice Chancellors and the Governor has appointed interim Vice Chancellors to administer these institutions without consultation with the State government.