Amartya Sen and Nalanda University controversy: All you should know

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No sooner than the pinstripe suit controversy subsided, the Narendra Modi-led NDA Government landed in yet another controversy when Nobel laureate Amartya Sen alleged that the Centre is not allowing him to continue as Nalanda University's Chancellor.

Nobel laureate Amartya Sen has withdrawn his candidature for a second term as Nalanda University Chancellor.

Amartya Sen controversy: Explained

Here is the all what ever has happened so far in this matter.

What is Amartya Sen saying?

In a letter to the Governing Board of Nalanda University Sen blamed the absence of Centre's approval for delay in nod from the Visitor, President Pranab Mukherjee, to his name even though the recommendation was sent to him over a month back.

"This delay, as well as the uncertainty involved, is leading, in effect, to a decisional gap, which is not helpful to Nalanda University's governance and its academic progress.

"I have, therefore, decided that in the best interest of Nalanda University, I should exclude myself from being considered for continuing as chancellor beyond this July, despite the unanimous recommendation and urging of the governing board for me to continue," Sen has written in his letter.

What is Modi Government saying?

The Government has rejected Amartya Sen's contention that it does not want him to continue as Nalanda University Chancellor, saying there was no attempt to "curtail" his tenure. The Centre claimed that it was yet to receive the approved minutes of the Governing Board of Nalanda University (GBNU).

External Affairs Ministry spokesperson, Syed Akbaruddin, said the Ministry cannot act as it was yet to receive the approved minutes of the meeting of GBNU which happened last month.

Akbaruddin said that in the draft minutes of the GBNU, there were two options either to continue with Sen or the Visitor (Mukherjee) seeking three shortlisted names from the Board to appoint the successor of the Nobel laureate.

Congress slams BJP for mistreating the noted economist

The opposition Congress said that the Narendra Modi government should not politicise the issue of extending Sen's term as Chancellor of Nalanda University.

"Amartya Sen is a national treasure, and to be treated so shabbily is really unfortunate," the party said on Twitter on Saturday.

Sen had threatened to resign in June last year

Amartya Sen, reportedly, threatened to resign as Chancellor in June, last year, after the Finance Ministry raised pointed queries on the financial management of the varsity.

The varsity has been granted a massive Rs 2,727 crore financial support package over a period of 12 years. The finance ministry's Department of Expenditure has asked the Ministry of External Affairs, the nodal ministry for the project, the reasons why government rules should not apply to the project, which irked Sen.

Chancellor Sen did not turn up when Nalanda University reopened after 800 years

When the Nalanda University was reopened in September, 2014, Chancellor Amartya Sen was missing from the inaugural day. Some observers then were of the view that the likely poor strength in the classes may have forced him to skip the inauguration.

Other controversies associated with Sen and Nalanda University

As per reports Sen, who is said to be close to former PM Manmohan Singh and UPA chief Sonia Gandhi, appointed Gopa Sabharwal, who was just a reader at Delhi's Lady Shriram College, as VC. As per a Bihar Times report, she was given a salary of over Rs 5 lakh per month which is twice what the Delhi University VC was getting.

As per the Bihar Times report, "From India, only four persons seems to have been involved besides Nalanda Mentor Group and all of those happen to be close friends from a single campus, Delhi University. The four sahelis from same campus viz. Gopa Sabharwal, Anjana Sharma, Upinder Singh and Nayanjot Lahiri are the only scholars and administrators of repute that a billion- strong population of India has produced to steer the signifier of Asian renaissance, Nalanda University."

Upinder Singh, professor of Ancient Indian History in DU, is the eldest daughter of former PM Manmohan Singh. Two others being Daman Singh, a budding novelist and Amrit Singh, an American citizen married to an American.

For Sen Narendra Modi wasn't a 'secular' PM candidate

"My reaction on Modi is well known, I don't think he is a good prime ministerial candidate. Obviously he is popular among some sections, particularly in the business community. But that does not mean he is my favourite candidate, indeed he is not," Sen told reporters after exercising his franchise at a booth on Vishwa Bharati University campus on April 30, last year.

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