Two vice chancellors of universities in Maharashtra have abruptly quit their posts before the end of their tenure and submitted their resignations to Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari. While sources said the two VCs cited personal reasons for their decision, the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), which is the students' wing of the BJP, alleged that they quit due to "political interference" by the state government.
When asked about the resignation of the two VCs, Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly Devendra Fadnavis said this is a serious issue and the governor should take cognisance of it. According to sources, Governor Koshyari, who is the chancellor of universities in the state, has accepted the resignations of Pradip Patil, who was the VC of Jalgaon-based Kavayitri Bahinabai Chaudhari North Maharashtra University, and Vedala Rama Sastry, the VC of the Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Technological University at Lonere in Raigad district.
The ABVP alleged that they had quit due to "political interference by government". "The ABVP believes this is due to frequent political overreach which undermined the authority and autonomy of vice chancellors," it said in a statement.
Of late, the education sector has been complaining about increasing "government overreach and interference" in universities in Maharashtra, the ABVP claimed. Tales of "instructions" regarding a university's tenders from ministries have been doing the rounds, it said.
"This overreach and constant interference has compelled the two vice chancellors to resign, and this is a worrisome state for the education sector in Maharashtra," the statement said. Courts have repeatedly reprimanded the government on issues such as conducting examinations and interfering in appointments of registrar of the Rashtrasant Tukadoji Maharaj Nagpur University and the Mumbai University, it said.
ABVP's Konkan state secretary Prerna Pawar said, "The resignation of the two vice chancellors because of political interference by the government even after repeated lashing by courts indicates the sorry state of affairs in the education sector under the MVA (Maha Vikas Aghadi-comprising the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress) government." She appealed to stakeholders of the education fraternity to unite against the government's alleged interference.