In keeping with the resolution made by the state cabinet the West Bengal University Laws Amendment Bill 2022, seeking to make the chief minister chancellor of state universities replacing the governor, was passed in the Assembly today, with 182 votes in favour and 40 against it.
The Bill would now go to governor Jagdeep Dhankhar for his assent to make it into a law. Should he refrain from putting pen to paper, the state government, as sources put it, would likely explore the option of promulgating an ordinance to make it happen.
The Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly Suvendu Adhikari, however, alleged proxy voting by the ruling party legislators as he claimed that as many 57 legislators of the BJP were present in the House today. All had voted against the Bill then, how could the numbers be reduced to 40, who had voted against the Bill?” he wondered.
He also said that his party would see to it that the Bill is not signed into law and for that they would visit the Raj Bhawan, likely on 20 June, to dissuade the governor from putting his assent to the Bill.
Introducing the Bill in the Assembly today, the state education minister Bratya Basu, while speaking in support of the Bill seeking to elevate the chief minister Mamata Banerjee as the chancellor of the state universities replacing the Governor, sought to draw a parallel with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is the chancellor of Visva-Bharati University. He supported his argument from the fact that should the Prime Minister be the chancellor of Visva-Bharati, why can’t be the chief minister.
He also cited the example of Gujarat to buttress his argument in favour of the Bill. Basu also lambasted the governor for withholding his assent to a number of Bills sent to him by the state so far. He also accused him of appointing VCs, who are leaning towards BJP.