Controversy over appointment of Chetan Chauhan as NIFT chief

Controversy over appointment of Chetan Chauhan as NIFT chief

Controversy over appointment of Chetan Chauhan as NIFT chief

A controversy erupted today over appointment of ex-cricketer and former BJP MP Chetan Chauhan as the Chairman of prestigious National Institute of Fashion Technology, with political parties and fashion designers questioning the decision of the government.

"I have been appointed (as the NIFT Chairman) by the Government of India and I will work to the best of my ability," said Chauhan, who is also the vice president of Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA).

As per the NIFT Act 2006, the Chairperson of its Board of Governors shall be an eminent academician, scientist or technologist or professional, who is to be nominated by the Visitor, in this case the President of India.

Set up in 1986, the institute which has centres across the country comes under the Union Ministry of Textiles.

Ridiculing the decision, Congress spokesman Manish Tewari said, "the government wants to convert the National Institute of Fashion Technology into National Institute of Cricket Technology."

Delhi Chief Minister and AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal questioned the appointment of Chauhan, accusing the Narendra Modi government of assembling an army of 'sycophants' in prestigious institutions.

"Modiji has selectively assembled an army of sycophants - Gajendra Chauhan, Chetan Chauhan, Pahlaj Nihalani, Smriti Irani," Kejriwal tweeted. He also named a media person in the tweet.

Chauhan termed as "baseless" Kejriwal's remarks and the allegation by AAP that he was being rewarded for "shielding" Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in the alleged irregularities in DDCA.

The AAP mocked at the appointment, wondering whether author Chetan Bhagat would be made the next RBI Governor, actor Anupam Kher the ISRO chief and former Maharashta Minister Eknath Khadse the NIA chief.

"Chauhan's appointment is similar to the appointments to institutions like the FTII and CBFC. This is absurd. He (Chauhan) does not know 'F' about fashion and he is the same person who defended Jaitley. And his appointment has the blessings of Amit Shah and Modi," AAP spokesperson Raghav Chadha told reporters.

Noted fashion designer Rina Dhaka expressed surprise over the appointment and said, "I would use this moment, basically to just say, why not us? We do have a plethora of talent. What is wrong in our appointment?"

Textiles Minister Santosh Gangwar defended the appointment, saying the NIFT board has 11 members belonging to different walks of life, including businessmen as well as designers.

When referred to questions being raised over Chauhan's competence to lead a premier fashion institute, the minister said the former international cricketer has a fair idea of fashion as he is a well-travelled personality.

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