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Exit pressure on HS head

In the wake of the marksheet scandal that rocked Higher Secondary (HS) 2002, the ruling CPM appears to be nudging Council president Jyotirmoy Mukherjee into a corner, from where he can have very little choice but to call it quits.

This is evident from the manner in which the authorities of Acharya Prafulla Chandra College, in Madhyamgram, where Mukherjee is the principal, are being pressured to “sit on his application” for an extension of his lien that will enable him to continue as Council president.

Mukherjee’s lien expired on September 30, but the college management, at the behest of the CPM, has chosen not to communicate any decision on the matter to him.

Party officials confirmed on Wednesday that a “quiet search” was on to select Mukherjee’s successor. Topping the shortlist were retired academic Ranjugopal Mukherjee and a north Bengal-based teacher.

But none of the academics identified is known to have shown any interest in the HS hotseat. In fact, one of them has made his non-availability clear to the party. “This (the refusal) may have given Mukherjee a few months’ breathing space. It seems he will have to go back to his college,” said an official.

Mukherjee had submitted his application to the college governing body two weeks ago. Sources said the authorities have not even convened a meeting to discuss the matter. The delay tactics will keep Mukherjee hanging and could even compel him to quit the top post in the HS Council to ensure that he does not lose his principal’s chair, now that his lien has expired.

“The college has not taken up Mukherjee’s application for extending his lien, although he holds an important post. This is a clear indication that the party is trying to push him out from the Council,” said an official.

Mukherjee is scheduled to retire as principal of Acharya Prafulla Chandra College on March 31, 2003. His appointment as Council president also stands till that date.

Biswajit Chakraborty, teacher-in-charge of the Madhyamgram college, admitted to receiving Mukherjee’s application, but refused to comment on the matter, as it was “highly confidential”.

When contacted, Mukherjee, too, declined comment.

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