The general secretary of the West Bengal Vice-Chancellors' Council on Saturday said no convocation was held on the campuses of the state universities in the last two years due to the pandemic, as Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar lamented that he was not being invited to the ceremonies though he was the chancellor.
Alleging that the state of universities in West Bengal was worrisome, Dhankhar at a programme on Friday said he was unable to "sleep at night" because of the situation.
"What the governor has said does not reflect the real situation. How many convocations were held on campuses in the last two years? Please remember how the pandemic affected everything," Subiresh Bhattacharya, the general secretary of Upacharjya Parishad or VC Council, told PTI.
Addressing the National Students' Convocation of the Institute of Cost Accountants of India, Dhankhar also raised concern over "unionism of the VCs" against him, referring to the meetings that he had called, which were ducked by the vice-chancellors.
Bhattacharya, who is the vice-chancellor of the University of North Bengal, said, "There is a mechanism for calling such meetings."
"If the mechanism is followed, the VCs will go as per the rules. The governor is our chancellor," he said.
The vice-chancellor of another state university, who refused to be identified, said the governor was invited to the convocations of Jadavpur University and Calcutta University in December 2019 and January 2020, respectively, but faced protests by students. "After that, the pandemic happened."
The issue escalated to a political fist-fight between the opposition BJP and the ruling TMC.
"What the governor said is very true and it doesn't bring glory to the state if the VCs of state universities treat him in such a manner at the behest of the Trinamool Congress government," BJP spokesperson Samik Bhattacharya said.
Bhattacharya claimed he was told by the VC of a private university how he was cautioned after attending a meeting convened by the governor.
TMC spokesperson Kunal Ghosh said the governor should introspect how he was acting in favour of the BJP.
"The governor is trying to become a super authority by summoning the VCs and issuing letters questioning different moves of the Higher Education Department," Ghosh said.
The Higher Education Department refused to comment on the fiasco.