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Bengal passes bill to replace guv with CM as chancellor of state varsities

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Kolkata, Jun 13: The Bengal assembly on Monday passed a bill that sought to replace Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee as the chancellor of all state-run universities, amid opposition by the BJP legislators.

Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar and CM Mamata Banerjee

State education minister Bratya Basu, after introducing The West Bengal University Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2022 in the House, said there was "nothing wrong" in chief minister taking over as the chancellor.

"Why can't the chief minister be the chancellor of state universities if the Prime Minister is the chancellor of a central university- Visva Bharati? You can go through the recommendations of the Punchhi Commission...

"The governor, who is the present chancellor, has violated protocols on various occasions," Basu said.

The bill was passed after 182 members voted in favour of the legislation and 40 against it in the 294-member Assembly.

Opposing the bill, opposition BJP alleged that appointing the chief minister as chancellor would lead to direct "political interference" in the state's higher education system.

"The state government wants to control everything. The decision to appoint the CM as chancellor of universities is being taken to facilitate direct interference of the ruling party in the state's education system," BJP MLA Agnimitra Paul alleged.

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