AIADMK MLAs, led by their floor leader Edappadi K. Palaniswami, staged a walkout from the Assembly on Thursday, protesting a decision of the State government to merge Dr. J. Jayalalithaa University in Villupuram with Annamalai University.
Mr. Palaniswami said it was Jayalalithaa who had upgraded schools and opened colleges to benefit the poor, and the university was launched to honour her. “There was a change of regime after we made the announcement. We are walking out to condemn the decision to merge it with Annamalai University,” he said.
Higher Education Minister K. Ponmudi said launching more universities would in no way improve the quality of education.
“Even if there is one university, it can benefit the students only if it offers quality education,” said Mr. Ponmudi, defending the government’s decision while responding to AIADMK member K.P. Anbazhagan, who held the higher education portfolio previously.
Mr. Ponmudi said Annamalai University was 100 years old and merging other universities with it was a matter of pride. The government had nothing against Jayalalithaa University. “There is already a fisheries and music university in her name,” he said.
Earlier, the Chief Minister said the government was not working with vendetta.