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Bill ‘slips' through Assembly

Special Correspondent

Passage of Alliance University Bill takes Opposition by surprise

Opposition to continue protest on the private universities issue

The procedure adopted for passing the Bills was faulty, says Siddaramaiah

Bangalore: Two Bills to set up two private universities in the State were passed in the Legislative Assembly on Friday amid protests.

While the proposal to set up Azim Premji University has been in the air for over a year, the Bill on Alliance University took legislators by surprise. While the Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular) members were staging a dharna in front of the Speaker's chair against the passage of the Azim Premji University Bill, 2010, another Bill for setting up of Alliance University was passed almost unnoticed by the Opposition members.

Shocked by the manner in which the governing Bharatiya Janata Party got the Bills passed, especially the second one, without any debate and amid pandemonium, even before the Opposition knew of its introduction by Higher Education Minister Arvind Limbavali, Leader of the Opposition Siddaramaiah announced that the Opposition would boycott the last three days of the Assembly session.

Before many of those present in the Assembly hall could read through a copy of the Alliance University Bill, it received the assent of the House in a few minutes. Even as the Opposition members were raising slogans against Speaker K.G. Bopaiah and the Government for the hasty manner in which the Bills were passed, the Speaker adjourned the House till March 17.

Subsequently, the BJP members along with Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa left the House. Mr. Siddaramaiah and his deputy, T.B. Jayachandra, told presspersons that their protest on the private universities issue would continue on Wednesday.

Earlier, Mr. Siddaramaiah, Mr. Jayachandra and other members including G. Parameshwar, H.D. Revanna, Bandeppa Kashempur, Sharan Prakash Patil, C.S. Nadagouda and H.C. Mahadevappa, opposed the Azim Premji University Bill and demanded that it be referred to a Joint Select Committee of the legislature. They dubbed it “unconstitutional, undemocratic and bereft of social justice”. Sarvabhouma Bagli of the BJP found deficiencies in the Bill while supporting it. K. Lakshminarayana of the BJP supported it.

Replying to the discussion, Mr. Limbavali defended the Bill and sought its passage. Mr. Yeddyurappa said that a person of the stature of Mr. Azim Premji had volunteered to set up the university to train teachers in imparting quality education in schools and colleges, especially in science subjects, and he should not be suspected.

The principal secretaries, Higher Education and Primary and Secondary Education departments, would be on the board of the proposed university. Even after the passage of the Bill, the University Grants Commission had to approve it, he said.

Mr. Siddaramaiah and Mr. Jayachandra said that the procedure adopted for passing the Bills was faulty.