The Mayawati government faced an embarrassing situation in the Vidhan Parishad on Thursday when the King George's Medical University (Second Amendment) Bill, 2007 was referred to a select committee.
The government had changed the name of KGMU to Chhatrapati Shahuji Maharaj Medical University (CSMMU). The Vidhan Sabha had passed the Bill in the last session but the Parishad could not take it up at that time.
The Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) opposed the change in name. They demanded that the Bill be referred to the committee and pressed for vote. With the ruling Bahujan Samaj Party in a minority in the Vidhan Parishad, the SP-RLD combine succeeded in pushing the Bill to the select committee.
The SP has 38 members followed by the BJP 24, BSP 12, teachers' group nine, the RLD 6, the Congress three, the Samajwadi Janata Party one and independents four. There is one vacancy. With Chief Minister Mayawati and Cabinet Minister Swami Prasad Mauraya being elected unopposed on Thursday, the BSP's strength has now gone up to 14.
Tabling the amendment proposal, Munna Singh Chauhan of the RLD said the KGMU was a hundred-year-old institution.
“People all over the world recognise the KGMU. Instead of changing its name, the government should establish new institutions in the name of Chhatrapati Shahuji Maharaj,” he said.
Nepal Singh (BJP) opposed the continuation of the university in the name of King George. “My party is against symbols of colonial rule,” he said and added that instead of Shahuji, the university should be named after Rani Laxmibai, Maharana Pratap or Parshuram.
Leader of Opposition Ahmed Hasan said the Bill should be referred to the select committee.
“The committee should submit its report within a month,” he said.
Lallan Yadav, Rakesh Rana, Ramashrey Vishwakarma (all SP) and Ramji Singh (BJP), too, opposed the Bill.
Medical Education Minister Lalji Verma, however, justified the government decision on the ground that the then BSP Government in 2002 had upgraded the King George's Medical College to a medical university. The upgraded medical university was named the CSMMU after social reformer of Maharashtra Chhatrapati Shahuji Maharaj. The minister sought the cooperation of the House for passage of the Bill.
“My government will work to establish the CSMMU as a medical university of repute,” he said. Dissatisfied BJP MLAs staged a walkout. The chair called for a vote on the two proposals and the House passed them.