Observing that the Governor was only a nominated executive, Minister for Higher Education K. Ponmudy in the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly on Monday said the Chief Minister should be made the Chancellor of State Universities.
“What is wrong in naming the Chief Minister as Chancellor? Who is the Governor? He is only a nominated executive. But, he [the Chief Minister] is a popularly elected executive. The Chief Minister and the Council of Ministers are elected by the people, but the Governor is only a nominated executive,” Mr. Ponmudy said.
Referring to how Vice-Chancellors in Gujarat are appointed by the State and not the Governor, the Minister asked: “The BJP members should have been here to hear this. They should ask Prime Minister Modi what is wrong in other States doing the same. They [BJP members] should go to Gujarat and ask the same question there.”
He also said the Union government was trying to force the National Education Policy (NEP) on the States, even as Union Education Minister Dharmanedra Pradhan maintained that the Common University Entrance Test (CUET) did not infringe upon the rights of the States.
Congress leader K. Selvaperunthagai said that the Governor has called for a conference of Vice-Chancellors in Udhagamangalam, which Sridhar Vembu, CEO of Zoho Corporation, was set to address. “Who is this Sridhar Vembu? He is a staunch follower of the RSS ideology. Can we allow this in Tamil Nadu,” he said.
PMK’s G.K. Mani (Pennagaram) urged that the Chief Minister should be the Chancellor of all State Universities and went on to recall that former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa was the Chancellor of the Tamil Nadu Dr. J. Jayalalithaa Music and Fine Arts University.
VCK’s M. Sinthanai Selvan (Kattumannarkoil) urged the State government to order a judicial probe over the appointment of all Vice-Chancellors appointed by the Governors during the past four years. He also urged to allocate an official residence on Greenways Road for the Governor and also urged that the Raj Bhavan at Udhagamandalam be used for the welfare of the public.
Panruti MLA T. Velmurugan urged the Tamil Nadu government to also bring about Bills to empower itself to appoint Vice-Chancellors in medical, agricultural and veterinary universities as well. He also urged the State government to replace the Governor with the Chief Minister as Chancellor of State universities.
Tiruchengodu MLA E.R. Eswaran said similar to how three names were sent to the Governor to be chosen as Vice-Chancellor for an university, the Union government should send a list of three person to the State government, one of whom could be chosen and appointed as the Governor.
Referring to the conference at Udhagamandalam on Monday, Papanasam MLA M.H. Jawahirullah said the Governor had convened a meeting without consulting the Higher Education Minister, and it could certainly be termed a “clash of power and functioning” as observed in the recommendations of the Punchhi Commission.
DMK MLA K. Chinnappa (Ariyalur), CPI’s T. Ramachandran (Thalli) and CPI(M)’s V.P. Nagaimaali (Kilvelur) also spoke supporting the Bills.