Bhardwaj at his graceless best

Gubernatorial vitriol

Bhardwaj at his graceless best

Talawar, who received the governor on his arrival here at the government guest house, was taken aback by Bhardwaj’s rebuke and acerbic tongue. “I do not want your welcome. Are you above the Chancellor? You don’t obey the government order. Nonsense. I believed you were a simple person. But you are more than a politician,” the governor told Talawar in the presence of other senior university officials.

The humiliation did not end there. Continuing his tirade, Bhardwaj asked the vice-chancellor to “behave.” Spewing more venom, the governor said: “I will never come to the University of Mysore again. You are setting the students against me. You are insulting me. You come and brief me unnecessarily. I will constitute an inquiry against you and inform the government of your activities. I have been a parliamentarian for the last 30 years. I will tell the prime minister not to give any funds to the university. You are encouraging all nonsense. This way you have destroyed the university.”

Although a visibly shocked Talawar apologised profusely, the governor was in no mood to relent. What apparently ticked off Bhardwaj was Talawar’s recent assurance to ABVP activists that he would hold a special session of the syndicate to discuss the issue of criminal action against former vice-chancellor J Shashidhar Prasad.

Prasad was held responsible for the irregularities in appointments to teaching posts during his tenure. Last month, the governor had recommended no legal action be taken against Prasad.

Soon after his arrival at the university, the governor refused to take part in the Samskruthotsava programme scheduled for 11 am. Making his displeasure more than obvious, he stayed put in the guest house till 12:30 pm. But the governor’s mood was assuaged by university officials who pointed out that Pejawar mutt seer Visveshatheertha Swami, another guest for the programme, was waiting for over an hour.

Later, while interacting with reporters while attending Newspaper Day, organised by the Mysore District Journalists’ Association, Bhardwaj said “personally” he was not in favour of criminal action against men of letters, including former vice-chancellors.
He appeared to have put behind him the graceless treatment he meted out to Talawar.
Responding to reporters’ queries, Bhardwaj said the appointments made by Prasad were done long ago and were complete and that the government must rectify the lapses. “If we have to act against a former VC, then all former VCs of all universities should be put behind bars. I do not know Shashidhar Prasad. Why should I act in his favour? I never said one should not act against the former VC,” the Governor said.

Prasad is in the eye of a storm over irregularities committed in recruitments during his tenure between 2003 and 2007. He is said to have violated the roster and filled vacanices reserved for SC/STs and backward communities with people from other castes, a punishable offence which was corraborated by Justice Rangavittalachar Commission in his report. There are also charges of corruption against these recruitments.

The Prasad episode has snowballed into a controversy after the government ordered criminal action against the former VC after Justice Rangavittalachar Commission report in June. However, Chancellor Bhardwaj’s letter to the government disapproved of any such action saying it would be “illegal” under University Act following which the State dropped its earlier stand.
DH News Service

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