The West Bengal government has the highest regard for the governor and it is in “no mood to engage in tiffs with him” amid the coronavirus crisis, state Education Minister Partha Chatterjee said on Thursday.
The remarks come hours after Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar claimed that the education system in the state is “politically caged”.
Mr Dhankhar had convened an online meeting with vice-chancellors (VCs) of state universities to discuss the academic situation amid the COVID-19 pandemic on Wednesday.
Barring one, all vice chancellors had stayed away.
“I find there is tightening of this political cage in the education scenario in West Bengal. I wanted to fathom the problems the universities and colleges are facing by calling a virtual meeting of VCs which they opposed tooth and nail for reasons known to all,” he said at a press meet on Thursday.
The governor is also the chancellor of state universities.
Mr Chatterjee, in response, told reporters that the TMC dispensation “does not want to indulge in politics or prolong its run-ins” with the governor.
“We would like to hear his valuable advice on the welfare of students but within the parameters of the constitution,” he said.
“Why should we have a problem if the governor works for the wellbeing of the students, but he had convened a meeting with VCs without informing the higher education department. This is against the rule passed by the state legislature,” the minister said.
Iterating that the Centre’s advisory asking varsities and academic institutes to conduct the final year examinations by September-end will put the health of students and teachers in jeopardy, Mr Chatterjee said the governor has assured the state that he will take up the matter with the UGC.
“The honourable governor had on July 13 supported our stand that students cannot be forced to sit for final exams by September-end as it could expose them to health hazards in the midst of the pandemic. He had promised to take up the issue with UGC. We hope he keeps his promise,” the minister, who had called Mr Dhankhar a ”BJP man” in the past, said.