Allahabad: Alleging that “political interference” has brought the administrative machinery of Allahabad University to a “standstill”, its Vice Chancellor has threatened to leave with his associates, and said MPs or MLAs can be made VCs instead of academicians to toe the government line.
“This is a central university and used to be called the Oxford of the East, in the past. There can be no possibility of the institution regaining its lost glory if political interference continues,” Allahabad University VC, RL Hangloo, who recently drew flak from BJP leaders over his handling of a students’ agitation, told reporters here.
He alleged that many politicians belonging to Congress, BJP, SP and ABVP, were involved in the university affairs and the varsity will not grow if politicians interfere.
“We want to take the university on the path of excellence and this is a jolt to our aim. All my associates are saying this is a jolt to the university, and politicians are hampering the university’s growth. The political interference is a setback for the university.
“If politicians continue to interfere, we will all have to leave. Then government can run the university as per their opinion. Then it would be better to have MLAs or MPs as VCs in place of academicians,” Hangloo said on Tuesday.
He was responding to questions about the varsity’s decision, announced on Tuesday, to keep the offline option open for entrance tests for post-graduate courses in the upcoming academic session.
The decision, whereby the university reversed its earlier stance that entrance tests would be held only through the online mode, is understood to have followed a meeting between some BJP MPs and HRD Minister Smriti Irani.
The BJP lawmakers are said to have brought to Irani’s notice that a number of student union leaders, including its vice-president and general secretary, who belong to Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), were on a hunger strike to press the demand for the offline option, saying it was important for candidates hailing from remote areas with poor internet connectivity.
Hangloo said that the HRD Ministry should “not interfere” in this because “politics” is involved in it.
“First there were only four persons on strike. And they were on strike because of their own problems and they don’t think of the university,” he said.
A group of BJP MPs and MLAs had on 5 May visited the varsity and criticised the VC for “mishandling” the students’ stir.
They had taken exception to the university administration lodging a police complaint against the union leaders for staging a demonstration in front of the VC’s office earlier this month.
Subsequently, a few of the BJP MPs had met Irani and an ensuing communication from the HRD Ministry is said to have prompted the varsity authorities to modify its decision.
Hangloo has been repeatedly accused by the students’ union president Richa Singh of being partisan towards those owing allegiance to BJP and the Sangh Parivar.
In March, Singh — who is a Samajwadi Party member — had charged the VC with ordering a “politically motivated” inquiry against her on the basis of “flimsy” complaints from her ABVP rivals.
The latest crisis, however, witnessed the union leaders burying their differences and putting up a joint fight.