There were strong reactions in social media to the recent reports on the 'rumours' of BJP stalwart Subramanian Swamy being considered for the post of Vice Chancellor of what can possibly be called the Stalingrad of India- Jawaharlal Nehru University. JNU, known for its communist leaning academia, has been the breeding ground of left politics in the country--which has produced leaders like Sitaram Yechury and Prakash Karat.
As soon as agency reports on Swamy's probable appointment came to the fore, #JNUVC became a trending hashtag on twitter. Students and ex-alumni started bashing the 'oppressive' government of trying to trample the politics of the only left dominated students union; many called it a move towards saffronisation.
"JNU stands for values of justice & excellence in research. Mr. Swamy was fired by Harvard for his regressive comments. Not fit for JNU VC, " commented the fresh elected vice president Shehla Rashid, JNUSU.
Some students also called it an attempt to revamp the political culture of Indian institutions by relating the move to FTII's ongoing students struggle- #FTII to jhaanki hai, JNU abhi baaki hai!
The struggle against saffron puppets- be it FTII Chair or new JNU VC- will expose this government. Students will show them the door.— Shehla Rashid (@Shehla_Rashid) September 23, 2015
Some also called it a set-up to keep Swamy out of the active politics.
What? Swamy had been offered the JNU VC post? Another attempt by govt to keep him out of legal cases against Gandhis??— Raju Das | ???? ??? (@rajudasonline) September 23, 2015
Many on the social media also supported the HRD's move and supported Swamy's candidature.
Same here. Thou hast the wherewithal to take on commies in their den. Please do accept the post of JNU VC. https://t.co/NuRtfSYDB7— PARIN (@ParinVShah) September 23, 2015
If the news is true, wud request @Swamy39 to take up VC position of JNU... we need a Arjuna to break chakravyuha of Hard Left— Rahul Easwar (@RahulEaswar) September 23, 2015
Eminent educationalist @Swamy39 can inspire Nationalism in JNU "intelligentsia; they are gud students, needs guidance— Rahul Easwar (@RahulEaswar) September 23, 2015
After all the social media jokes and outrage, Swamy himself took to the micro blogging site twitter to break the suspense. Despite the reports in media of HRD ministry reaching out to him with the proposal, Swamy stayed away from giving any confirmation on the same:
Media is on fire that I have been offered the JNU VC post. No formal offer nor will there be if the Govt cannot meet my pre- conditions— Subramanian Swamy (@Swamy39) September 23, 2015
Well, to throw some light on the 'pre-conditions', Swamy came up with another ridiculous tweet calling for drug-control drive in the University campus and eliminating the 'anti-national' students.
PTs are overwhelmingly against my accepting JNU VC post. No question of my considering unless allowed to rusticate anti- national students— Subramanian Swamy (@Swamy39) September 24, 2015
I think JNU needs an Anti Narcotics Bureau campus branch office to raid dorms and arrest Naxals, jehadis and Elis. BSF camp also— Subramanian Swamy (@Swamy39) September 24, 2015
Amidst the entire controversy, many also raised eyebrows over the mere rumour of his appointment and questioned his elegibility. Swamy, who is 76 can possibly be not considered for the post given the age limit is 65.
Looks like @Swamy39 for JNU rumors were floated by Left to raise bogey of Right in JNU. Age limit criteria eluded Leftist Intellectuals.— Shashi Shekhar (@shashidigital) September 23, 2015
An article on Scroll also said that there has been some confusion on the post he has been offered.
My own suspicion is that the report confused the position of VC with the ceremonial post of Chancellor, for which there is no retirement age. The current Chancellor, the physicist and former ISRO head K Kasturirangan, was an apolitical and uncontroversial appointment (he received his Padma Vibhushan from the last National Democratic Alliance government). He is 74, younger than Swamy, and there has been no talk of his retirement. But it is possible, even plausible, that Swamy has been considered as a potential replacement.
So if Swamy isn't becoming the VC of JNU, for whatever reason, then who is?
Could it be Swapan Dasgupta who has for a long time been in running for the post of the Indian High Commissioner to the UK?