| Calcutta University: Cloud of controversy
Calcutta, Nov. 21: Differences within the Left Front have shown up at Calcutta University, with a group of members of its mainly pro-CPM syndicate alleging that three 'less qualified' teachers were appointed despite their opposition.
The members owing allegiance to the CPI, the Forward Bloc and the RSP claimed there was a number of deserving candidates for the posts of lecturer, reader and professor in the political science department. But they were rejected, the members said.
'We were stunned by the way the authorities refused to pay any heed to our opinion when we sought an explanation why the candidates with higher educational qualifications were ignored,' one of the dissenting members said.
University registrar Ujwal Basu, who is the varsity's administrative head, rejected the charge.
'The appointments have been made strictly conforming to the decision of the experts,' he said, referring to the expert committee that made the selections.
A dissenting member said: 'Earlier, whenever we (members sympathetic to the CPI, Bloc and RSP) raised objections or questions on selection of any teacher, the syndicate honoured our views and referred the matter back to the committee which selected the candidates.'
'This,' he added, 'is perhaps the first time the syndicate has rejected our opinion.'
Basu said the committee that screens applications comprises a nominee of the chancellor and two nominees of the syndicate who are experts from other universities. 'There is very little scope for selecting an undeserving candidate.'
Observers said it was clear from the situation that members owing allegiance to the CPM controlled the appointments. The junior front partners fear that the trend of ignoring them will gradually snowball, they added.
The dissenters have demanded an inquiry into the selection procedure and threatened to approach the front brass.
They said they were 'shocked' at the university's decision because it had never 'disregarded' the opinion of pro-front members of the syndicate while taking major decisions.
The syndicate, which is the final authority in approving appointments of university teachers, does not have any non-front member. It is dominated by CPM sympathisers, none of whom opposed the three recent appointments.
One of the main irregularities that the dissenters pointed out is that the selected candidates do not have enough of their academic work published in journals.
They said this was one of the most important requirements for selection of an applicant. Those who were not selected, they alleged, had more published work to their credit.
Basu said quality was considered. 'We have seen that the quality of their (appointees') published papers were of superior standard. We feel that there has been no irregularity in the appointments.'
The dissenting members further alleged that although many applicants for the lecturer's post had done their PhD, the candidate who was selected did not have the degree.