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West Bengal Brings Bill, Makes CM Chancellor of State Universities

The West Bengal cabinet on Thursday approved a proposal to replace the Governor as the state university chancellor with the chief minister. State Education Minister Bratya Basu said in a news conference after the cabinet meeting that the proposal will soon be introduced to the state legislature as a bill.

Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar, who has had tensions with the state government since taking office in West Bengal, has yet to react to the development.

“Today, the State Cabinet agreed with the Chief Minister’s proposal to replace the Governor as Chancellor of all state-run universities. The proposal will soon be introduced into Assembly as a bill, and then the law will be enacted,” Basu said.

Because of his position, the governor is chancellor of all state-run universities in the state. Dhankhar has recently sparred with the state government over issues such as the appointment of vice-chancellors (VCs) of state-run universities.

He claimed that “the vice-chancellors of 24 universities were illegally appointed without the approval of the chancellor’s”. The Governor expressed pain after the president and vice-chancellor of a private university met at their official residence in December. They were unable to attend the meeting due to the COVID-19 situation.

Dhankar faced a similar situation in January 2020 when the Vice-Chancellor of the state-run universities were invited to a meeting. Basu said last year that it was time to reflect on the “need to continue the colonial legacy” with the Governor-General as prime minister.

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