West Bengal Governor Sends Confidential Letters To Centre, State Secretariat At Midnight; TMC Reacts

A day after the state Education Minister Bratya Basu accused Governor CV Ananda Bose of trying to destroy the higher education system and running a 'puppet regime' in universities, Bose warned of taking much bigger action at midnight on Saturday.

CV Ananda Bose interacts with media

West Bengal Governor CV Ananda Bose sent two confidential letters to the Centre and the state government at midnight on Saturday.  The letter was sent after Education Minister Bratya Basu accused him of trying to "destroy" the higher education system in the state and running a "puppet regime" in universities.

After the state education minister's comments came in, the Governor had warned of "much bigger action" at midnight. He told the reporters on Saturday afternoon, "Wait for the stroke of midnight today. You will see action."

According to a Raj Bhavan official, two signed letters were sent to each Nabanna, the state secretariat and the Centra respectively at midnight, reported PTI. It is also said that the contents of the letter would be disclosed later.

The official told PTI, "The governor signed two confidential letters tonight, one for Nabanna and the other for Delhi." He added, "You will come to know of the content of the letters later." According to PTI, he also hinted that the subject could be the recent war of words between the governor and the state government.

Before signing the letters, the Governor held an elaborate meeting with Chief Secretary H K Dwivedi at Raj Bhavan. The topic of discussion between the two has not been disclosed.

What did Bratya Basu say?

A few minutes after the Governor warned of bigger action to be taken at the stroke of midnight, Bratya Basu without naming the governor, mocked him by calling him the "new vampire in town" and cautioned the people to "beware of him".

"See till midnight, see the action BEWARE! BEWARE! BEWARE! New Vampire in the town! Citizens please watch yourselves. Eagerly waiting for the 'Rakkhas Prahar' (time of the monster), according to Indian Mythology!," Basu posted on X, formerly Twitter.

The ongoing dispute between the West Bengal government and Raj Bhavan over the appointment of interim vice-chancellors at universities had come to a head on Friday with Basu accusing the Governor of trying to destroy the state's higher education system.

The minister also charged the governor, who is the chancellor of state-run universities, with running a "puppet regime" in the varsities and threatening registrars not to hold meetings with the higher education department.

Basu reportedly said, "The honourable governor wants to run a puppet regime by appointing people according to his whims to satisfy someone's ego. He is making a constant effort to dismantle the higher education system."

The West Bengal Educationists' Forum, in a statement, described Bose's comment on midnight action as "threats".

"It is unfortunate to witness the chancellor issuing threats of staging a midnight drama of revenge against the educationists and the officials and functionaries of the state higher education department," the statement said.

The governor, in his capacity as the chancellor of state-run universities, recently appointed interim vice-chancellors for eight varsities, including the prestigious Presidency University, MAKAUT and the University of Burdwan, a step which was severely criticised by the chief minister as a bid to interfere with the running of state-administered universities.

 According to PTI, the interim vice-chancellors of eight other universities have also been finalised and appointment letters "will be issued soon".

How did TMC react?

TMC Rajya Sabha MP Santanu Sen said the governor's latest act of sending confidential letters at midnight stems from his wish to be in the "good books of BJP with an eye on a plum posting in New Delhi as a reward".

"The governor is destroying the state's higher education sector by violating all rules, statutes and constitutional provisions. Despite the state pointing out the anomalies in his action, he appears nonchalant and has adopted a confrontationist stance because of the support of BJP," Sen said.

TMC state spokesperson Kunal Ghosh said that the governor's penchant to becoming hyper-active in midnight hours requires notice. "It is clear he is acting at someone's behest and is not listening to anybody else," he said.

What did BJP leaders say?

Responding to the TMC's allegations, BJP state president Sukanta Majumdar said, "The governor is trying to clean up the mess created by TMC in the higher education sector in the last one decade. He is working overtime to end the era of politicisation, intimidation and threat on campuses of state universities."

"The ruling party is humiliating the governor in most unsavoury manner as it does not like his initiative for improving the education sector, it is not concerned about the fate of students who suffer due to the chaotic situation in several state universities which remain headless owing to the TMC's blatant partisan policy to put its own candidates in the VC's post," Majumdar told reporters.