Tamil Nadu minister K Ponmudy to boycott Madurai Kamaraj University event, blames Governor
Ponmudy alleged that the event was planned without consulting him, the pro-chancellor of the university.
CHENNAI/MADURAI: Accusing Governor RN Ravi of politicising convocations of state universities, Higher Education Minister K Ponmudy on Tuesday announced that he would be boycotting the convocation of Madurai Kamaraj University (MKU).
The event is scheduled for Wednesday and Union Minister of State for Fisheries L Murugan has been invited as the guest of honour. Ponmudy alleged that the event was planned without consulting him, the pro-chancellor of the university.
"Since I am the pro-chancellor, the university should have consulted with me over selecting the chief guest and the guest of honour. But I was not informed at all. When asked, the vice-chancellor of the university said the guests were decided by the governor's office," said Ponmudy.
"Honorary guests are not usually invited to convocations... L Murugan isn't even in the education ministry. There was no need to invite him as an honorary guest. This makes us suspect that the governor is trying to bring politics into convocations. I have time and again said students should have political awareness but there is no need for politics in a convocation," said Ponmudy while addressing a press meet at the Secretariat.
He alleged that the governor's office refused to change the guest list. Taking a strong stand against the governor for "favouring the BJP", Ponmudy said that the governor was not an elected representative and that nowhere in the Constitution had it been written that the governor should favour the ruling party in the Centre.
Instead, the governor should be an ally of the State government.
Ponmudy also took a jibe at the governor for his remarks that Aryan and Dravidian concepts were based on geographical division. "He (the governor) asked us to read NEP, I humbly ask him to read Indian history. One shouldn't comment on Dravidian ideology without knowing the history," he said.
Academicians and the university faculty, too, condemned the move of inviting L Murugan to the convocation. GS Nagarajan, general-secretary of Members of Madurai Kamaraj, Manonmaniam Sundaranar, Mother Teresa, and Alagappa University Teachers' Association, said: "MKU is a state-run-university and its pro-chancellor is the State higher education minister. MKU shouldn’t have invited the union minister without his (Ponmudy's) consent."
Save Madurai Kamaraj University Forum secretary R Murali said that the university's syndicate should have been informed about the guest list. "The governor is deliberately challenging the State government by inviting L Murugan as the guest of honour. This is a threat to higher education institutions," he said.
Meanwhile, Madurai MP Su Venkatesan, in his tweet, demanded that Wednesday's convocation be cancelled and reconvene it with the support Pro-chancellor K Ponmudy.