A Vice-Chancellor steps out
SIR, This is with reference to the report “Jadavpur University V-C resigns” (23 October). Professor Souvik Bhattacharya announced his resignation as the Vice-Chancellor of Jadavpur University, indeed the fifth VC to do so since the Trinamul Congress came to power in May 2011. He had reportedly tendered his resignation to Governor/Chancellor MK  Narayanan before the Puja vacation. His resignation has been accepted, according to the education minister,  Bratya Basu.
Two Vice-Chancellors of the University of Gour Banga in Malda, namely Gopa Dutta and Achintya Biswas, resigned in March 2012 and September 2013 respectively. Subrata Pal, the Vice-Chancellor of Burdwan University, and Nanda Dulal Paria, the Vice-Chancellor of Vidyasagar University, had quit their posts in September 2011.
Mr Bhattacharyya, the first full-time VC under the present dispensation, had been the Chancellor&’s choice. “Mr Bhattacharya was the choice of the search committee in which the state government had no say. It is up to him to stay or go. We can’t be held responsible for his resignation,” was the education minister&’s comment.
This time, the minister had sought the Chancellor&’s opinion after learning a lesson from the Presidency University episode. Mr Narayanan had prevailed upon the government on VC Malabika Sarkar&’s tenure.
A JU alumnus, Prof Bhattacharya taught mechanical engineering at IIT Kharagpur and was selected by the university&’s search committee for a four-year tenure.
He managed to retain his position for about a year and two months. “I had come to this university with a lot of hope and dreams. I tried to do something, but much of it will remain unfulfilled”, he said.
He was among the three senior university officials who were gheraoed for 50 hours by a section of students in September. The protesters demanded the revocation of the expulsion of two students accused of ragging a junior in the university hostel in August.
It is learnt that he received no moral support from the government. On the contrary, he was hobbled by the interference of the Deans, a section of university teachers, and the State&’s Higher Education Council. The university administration is highly politicised.
Yours, etc., Gokul Burman,
Nadia, October 23.
ELECTORAL  REFORMS
SIR, This  refers  to  Sam  Rajappa&’s article, “Nota Bene” (11  October).  He  concludes,  “It is the failure of the UPA government  to  introduce much needed  electoral  reforms  that forced the Supreme Court to enter into the realm of the legislature. The time has come for Parliament to enact a comprehensive law to completely reform the electoral system”.
The failure ought not to be attributed to the UPA alone. Previous dispensations are no less responsible. Had the reforms been introduced earlier and followed up by UPA-I and II, it would have by now been effective and the situation would not have deteriorated to the extent that it has.
In parallel with electoral reforms, social reforms also need to be introduced. The second has to be in place for the first to be effective.
The legislatures should be insulated from criminals and the convicted. NOTA cannot be the only option. As Mr Rajappa had written in his article, “A Congress charade” (The Sunday Statesman, 6 October): “An analysis done by the Association of Democratic Reforms reveals that only 24 out of 4,807 MPs and MLAs in the country have declared in their affidavits of  never being convicted in a court of law.
ADR has analysed 47,389 affidavits of Assembly and Lok Sabha candidates since 2008 and found 8,041 have declared criminal cases against them, 3,759 were of serious nature”.  The MLAs and MPs, against whom there are criminal cases, represent a fairly large section of society. The rest don’t seem to be honest, though not convicted.
Yours, etc., Tapan Patra, Belsingha,
24 Parganas (S), 17 October.
MODI’S FAILURES
SIR, The massacre in  Naroda Patiya in February 2002 has not been forgotten. Even after eleven years, the blood clot in Narendra Modi&’s hands has not been erased. His detractors are now raking up the state administration&’s shortcomings.
 His toilet gimmick has boomeranged and has brought to the fore his  limitations as an administrator.
An estimated 67 per cent of households in rural  Gujarat have  no toilets;  drinking  water is acutely scarce. In terms of indebtedness, Gujarat ranks high on the list. It has risen four-fold since Modi took over as Chief Minister in 2001. Its slums are among  the worst in the world.
Yours, etc., Anil Kumar Choudhury,
Kalyani, 23 October.
ISI IN UP?
SIR, As mentioned by the Crown Prince in one of his election speeches, the ISI has started luring the Muslim youth in U P affected by the recent communal riots. If that is true, then it is indeed a serious matter.
First, how has the ISI been able to penetrate deeply into this part of the country without being noticed by our intelligence agencies? Or is it that our friend across the eastern border is also hand-in-glove with them for the sake of religious affinity?  Had the Intelligence network been effective, these infiltrators would promptly have been arrested. It is a matter of national security and the people are entitled to an answer.
Yours, etc., Arun Malankar, Mumbai, 25 October.