The newly elected senate of Calcutta University held its first meeting on Thursday and put its seal of approval on the governor’s order of extending the tenure of vice-chancellor Ashis Banerjee by a year.
“Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi, who is chancellor of the university, gave the extension by applying Clause 8/2 of the Calcutta University Act,” said Samir Bandyopadhyay, the university registrar.
According to Dilip Rauth, secretary to the governor, Gandhi granted the extension to Banerjee on a recommendation from the state government. “The state higher education department had written to the governor, requesting him to approve the recommendation for an extension. Accordingly, he has granted the extension,” Rauth told Metro.
There was no official explanation for giving Banerjee an extension after two terms as vice-chancellor, but sources linked it to the failure of the CPM-controlled senate in selecting a unanimous candidate for the top job.
According to campus buzz, there were three contenders — Suranjan Das, the CU pro vice-chancellor (academic), Surabhi Banerjee, the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Open University vice-chancellor, and Dhrubajyoti Chattopadhyay, a former dean of science, CU.
“All of them are competent and also enjoy the blessings of influential CPM quarters. So, selecting one of them was difficult,” said a CU official.
Considering the political turmoil in the state after Singur, Nandigram and the Rizwanur case, the senate — controlled by CPM-backed teaching and non-teaching employees’ unions — did not want to take a chance and recommended Banerjee’s extension.