VC appointment in R'than kicks up row

A fresh controversy has erupted for the BJP-led state government over the recent appointment of the new vice-chancellor of University of Rajasthan.

Several organisations and the opposition Congress have charged that the appointment of J P Singhal as the VC is against the University Act guidelines.

It has been alleged that J P Singhal doesn’t fulfil the basic eligibility criteria and his appointment has been done under the pressure of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
This is similar to row over the appointment of Gajendra Chauhan as chief of the prestigious Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), which has left the saffron party facing serious allegations.

Many organisations and political leaders have approached Governor Kalyan Singh and filed a complaint. “We have met the Governor to highlight the irregularities in the appointment of the new VC.  According to the University Act, the basic eligibility criteria for the VC post is at least 10 years of teaching experience in any of the universities or  minimum 10 years of work experience as a professor. Unfortunately J P Singhal has always served in a private college and he doesn’t fulfil the norms,” said Pratap Singh Khachariawas, a Congress leader.

Moreover, the new VC is not a PhD-holder, he added.  The controversy further flared when J P Singhal admitted that he is not a PhD holder while the appointment orders issued by Governor Secretariat named him as “Dr J P Singhal’.

Khachariawas said the Governor has assured that he would look into the matter.
Sources in Governor House said that it was a select committee that shortlisted five candidates for the VC’s post.

Officials claimed that there has been no error on their part because Singhal’s name was taken from the list of candidates sent by the select committee.

“No one has any objection if BJP and RSS plant their people in the key posts in various universities. But the candidate should at least fulfil the basic criteria for such prestigious posts,” said Abrar Ahmed, secretary, Students Islamic Organisation of India, Rajasthan chapter.

Meanwhile, state government sources said the former BJP MP Ram Das Agarwal and Education Minister Kali Charan Sarraf lobbied for the Singhal’s candidature.
All the three belong to Baniya community of Jaipur, a traditional vote bank of the state BJP.

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