THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The LDF-dominated Kerala University senate has once again thwarted Governor Arif Mohammed Khan’s repeated attempts to get a nominee of the varsity body included in the selection panel to choose a new vice-chancellor. Though a special session of the senate was convened for the purpose on Tuesday, the LDF members kept away from the meeting, forcing its adjournment due to a lack of quorum. While a minimum of 19 members are needed for the senate to meet, only 11 members turned up.
The senate had taken a stance that it cannot choose a nominee till a two-member search-cum-selection committee constituted ‘unilaterally’ by the chancellor (the governor), without the senate representative, is disbanded. The senate also passed a resolution to this effect on August 20. “Had the senate met today, it would have had to elect a nominee to the search-cum-selection committee as the meeting was convened only for this purpose,” said an LDF-backed senate member. Hence, the LDF senate members adopted the strategy of staying away from the meeting, allegedly at the behest of the government which is engaged in a confrontation with the governor on the issue.
According to another senate member, the meeting was ‘scuttled’ to also avoid a scenario in which the LDF members do not nominate a person to the search committee and the vice-chancellor is forced to accept a nominee suggested by the UDF members. Meanwhile, sources from the Raj Bhavan indicated that the senate’s move would prompt the governor to give a go-ahead for the selection process by the search committee constituted by him earlier, without the senate nominee. “Action against the chancellor-nominated senate members who stayed away from the meeting cannot be ruled out,” said a source.
The governor had repeatedly written to the vice-chancellor to convene a senate session to propose its nominee to the panel. The university, which turned down the direction citing the senate resolution, finally relented after the governor issued an ultimatum to the vice-chancellor. The term of the incumbent Vice-Chancellor V P Mahadevan Pillai ends on October 24 and the two-member panel constituted by the governor has time till December 5 (including a one-month extension period) to select a new person for the post.
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