As Bihar governor preps for Delhi trip, Magadh Univ vice-chancellor goes on leave

Published on Nov 24, 2021 12:46 AM IST
Bihar governor Phagu Chauhan, who is travelling to Delhi on Wednesday, is likely to meet Union education minister Dharmendra Pradhan and other Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders .
Bihar governor Phagu Chauhan during Chancellor's Award ceremony at Raj Bhawan, in Patna, Bihar, India, on Tuesday, Nov 23, 2021. (Photo by Santosh Kumar /Hindustan Times) (HT Photo/Santosh Kumar)
Bihar governor Phagu Chauhan during Chancellor's Award ceremony at Raj Bhawan, in Patna, Bihar, India, on Tuesday, Nov 23, 2021. (Photo by Santosh Kumar /Hindustan Times) (HT Photo/Santosh Kumar)
ByArun Kumar

PATNA: Bihar’s Magadh University vice chancellor Rajendra Prasad, who was raided by special vigilance team investigating him for corruption, finally went on medical leave on Tuesday after pressure was mounted on Raj Bhavan to take firm action against the top university official.

Magadh University pro-vice chancellor Vibhuti Narayan Singh will handle charge as vice chancellor from November 23 to December 12, a Raj Bhavan notification late on Tuesday evening said after Prasad’s request for medical leave was granted.

The Raj Bhavan announcement came hours after top officials confirmed that Bihar governor Phagu Chauhan will leave for Delhi on Wednesday. “We don’t know his itinerary in Delhi, but he is going on Wednesday,” said Robert L Chongthu, principal secretary to the governor said.

People familiar with the matter said the governor is likely to meet Union education minister Dharmendra Pradhan and some other Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders.

The governor’s Delhi visit comes at a time Raj Bhavan and chief minister Nitish Kumar’s government have faced-off on Rajendra Prasad’s continuation as Magadh university vice chancellor though he is under investigation for corruption.

That Bihar education minister Vijay Kumar Choudhary and top education department officials were not present at a Raj Bhavan ceremony to felicitate best teachers and students in the state’s universities was seen to indicate the divide between the gubernatorial office and the elected government.

Choudhary made a pointed reference to his governor’s office keeping his department out of the selection process for the awards. “It is entirely Chancellor’s function. We don’t know what period of performance has been considered for award and if the various categories of award conform to the advertisement,” he added.

The governor’s choice already has been questioned by some. On Monday, Prof Md Qudus, vice chancellor of Patna-based Maulana Mazharul Haq Arabic and Persian University (MMHAPU) complained to chief minister Nitish Kumar levelling corruption allegations against Lalit Narayan Mithila University (Darbhanga) vice chancellor SP Singh, who was selected for the best vice chancellor’s award by the governor. SP Singh could not be contacted despite repeated attempts on his phone.

BJP state president Sanjay Jaiswal said it was an issue between the state government and Raj Bhawan. “I cannot comment on this. Governor is a constitutional position. The organisation of the BJP has nothing to do with it,” he added.

“There seems to be lack of unanimity between the Raj Bhawan and the state government on the issue of appointment of VCs and the matter started flaring up after several VCs from UP got appointed in the state universities in the last few years, coinciding with the Governors from the neighbouring state,” said social analyst Prof NK Choudhary.

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