The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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CM in August company
Bhattacharjee and Sarkar: Spirited defence

Calcutta, July 22: What The Telegraph said yesterday, chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee announced today.

In a report in Wednesday’s edition, Chicago University records were quoted as saying that former Rabindra Bharati University vice-chancellor Pabitra Sarkar would be awarded the PhD degree in August or will be conferred the degree at the summer convocation on August 27, 2004.

“After August, you (the Opposition MLAs) will have to keep mum. I think the ongoing controversy (over Pabitra Sarkar’s PhD) will come to an end in August,” Bhattacharjee said in the Assembly while replying to the discussion on the budget on information and cultural affairs.

Bhattacharjee defended Sarkar in the House for the second time this month describing him as one of Bengal’s most erudite scholars. “As far as I know, Pabitra Sarkar is a renowned linguist, essayist and critic,” Bhattacharjee said.

Trinamul Congress’ Nirbed Roy and Tapas Roy accused the chief minister of shielding Sarkar, “who has not yet produced his PhD degree though he uses the prefix ‘Dr’ with his name and has served in several key academic posts.”

Bhattacharjee said: “Sarkar is a first-class first in Bengali and has done his masters in linguistics. I will not tell you anything more at the moment.”

The chief minister said he had been inducted to the Bangla Akademi as a vice-president for his prowess in linguistics. “Another vice-president of the Akademi is Sankha Ghosh and the committee is headed by poet Nirendra Nath Chakraborty,” he said.

Nirbed Roy said Bhattacharjee’s observation on Thursday that there was none to match Sarkar’s scholarship was untrue. “Satyaranjan Bandopadhyay is a linguistics scholar who can match Sarkar. I can name at least three scholars whose academic brilliance can be compared with Sarkar’s,” he said.

“You could send (former Visva-Bharati vice-chancellor) Dilip Sinha to jail for attesting forged marksheets but you have not taken any step against Sarkar, who served in important academic posts by claiming to hold a PhD from a foreign university,” said Roy.

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