To bifurcate or not to bifurcate

Thats the question on BU split in the wake of Acharyas demise

Will the sudden demise of V S Acharya, Minister for Higher Education, change the power equation in Bangalore University (BU)? And will the sudden turn of events delay the bifurcation of India’s largest university? 

Those in the know say BU’s division that had become imminent, owing to Acharya’s keen interest, might be put off for now, as the State government has more important things to attend to at present. Besides, the matter will depend hugely on Acharya’s successor.

A highly placed source, who was close to the departed leader, however, disagrees slightly. 

“It is true that Acharya’s successor will influence the decision to divide or not to divide the university immediately. But the matter has reached such a point that any delay would only embarrass the government,” a senior BU functionary said, on condition of anonymity.

Acharya was so keen on bifurcating the university that he had got the green signal from Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda. 

“We expect the CM to allocate some funds for BU bifurcation in the State Budget for 2012-13,” the functionary added.

According to former MLC, K Narahari, who was part of the seven-member committee that chalked out the bifurcation plan last year, it would all rest on the new minister. “I’m not sure if the bifurcation issue will be put on the back burner. It would very much depend on the personal interest of Acharya’s successor,” Narahari told Deccan Herald. 

The BU bifurcation issue is a tricky one. Vice Chancellor N Prabhu Dev has been strongly opposed to the idea and argued that bifurcation of the university would take the sheen off BU. In the words of one of his aides, the BU bifurcation is a “classic case of political appeasement”. 

The Karnataka State Higher Education Council approved the bifurcation plan long ago, but Dev managed to scuttle it. Hence, the scheme literally remained on paper.

Acharya, however, stayed patient. Not a great admirer of Dev, the late leader had criticised him on various issues. He was also instrumental in appointing Dev’s bête noire B C Mylarappa the university’s Registrar (Administration), following the Kolar PG Centre fiasco. 

Besides, Acharya kept the BU bifurcation plan alive to the effect that the government was about to appoint a Special Officer (SO) for the new university. Dev, however, managed to delay it. And Acharya’s sudden passing away has only bolstered his chances. 

Mylarappa, one of the strong candidates for the SO’s post, is confident that the new minister will take “keen interest” in bifurcating BU. “I hope the VC does not have much to do. It is now beyond him. He cannot scuttle the project any more,” Mylarappa told this reporter.

Dev, who has all along refused to speak on the matter, remained unavailable for comments on Wednesday, too.

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