Amid the confrontation between Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari and the state government over the issue of final year university exams, the Shiv Sena on Thursday said political egos should be kept aside at a time when the country is facing the COVID-19 crisis. Taking aim at leaders of the opposition BJP in the state a day after a cyclone hit Maharashtra, an editorial in Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamana’ said Koshyari should be cautious of the “mad storm” hitting the Raj Bhavan gates frequently.
Koshyari on Tuesday criticised the Uddhav Thackeray – led state government’s decision to cancel the final year university examinations on account of coronavirus outbreak, and said the decision would jeopardise the future of students. He also asserted that the chancellor of universities — a position which governor holds ex-officio — has the final authority over all university matters, as per the Maharashtra Public Universities Act.
Decision on holding final year exams will be taken as per Universities Act !
It has been conveyed to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray that decision regarding holding of the examinations of final year students ‘shall be taken in consonance with the provisions of the Act’.
— Bhagat Singh Koshyari (@BSKoshyari) June 2, 2020
Noting that there has been a public display of differences between the government and the governor over the issue of final year university examinations, the Sena on Thursday said, “Political egos and one-upmanship should be kept aside in times of crisis.” “The COVID-19 pandemic has created an unprecedented situation in the state and the country. The ‘Sword of Damocles’ is hanging over the future of a generation. Should their lives be endangered or should a consensus decision be taken on clearing the confusion over exams?” the Sena asked. It said the government’s decision to cancel the final year exams and give marks as per the aggregate of last semester was “welcomed by all”.
“But opposition leaders immediately met the governor to register their protest and objected to the decision. The governor immediately wrote to the government and said examinations will be held according to the Universities Act,” the Marathi daily pointed out. “We trust the governor’s intellect, but some mad storm frequently hits the Raj Bhavan gates. The governor is a fine gentleman and he should be cautious of such storms, otherwise the future of lakhs of students will be at stake,” it said.
The governor is of the view that he, as chancellor of all universities, should have been taken into confidence. But it has been widely reported that state higher and technical education minister Uday Samant had met the governor in this regard,” it pointed out. The Sena asked whether Prime Minister Narendra Modi had taken RBI governor and Union finance minister into confidence while announcing demonetisation, or the President while announcing the lockdown to contain spread of COVID-19.
“We believe the Modi government has the mandate to take decisions. It is constitutionally illegal for the governor to bless the opposition’s moves to oppose all decisions of the government,” it said. Such “tactics” of the opposition will not destabilise the three-party Maha Vikas Aghadi government (comprising the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress) in the state, it said.
“Union Home Minister Amit Shah has himself said the government will collapse only if the three-party alliance breaks. Hence, the opposition party must come out of the illusion that the government will become unstable if it continues to oppose everything what the government does,” the Shiv Sena said. The governor is the chancellor of universities and he is entitled to have his views.
“But in the wake of the coronavirus spread, how can examinations be held, endangering lives of 10 lakh students? The stand taken by the government is practical,” it said. On concerns raised BJP leader Ashish Shelar over the issue of exams, the Sena said the government, after discussing with vice chancellors and education experts, will take a decision on how to give aggregate marks to the ATKT (allowed to keep term) students.
ATKT is a process to allow students of pre-graduation and graduation to study in the next grade if they have failed in one to four subjects. On Shelar’s reported remark that whether students passing on aggregate marks will be called “corona graduates”, the Sena said there are “several big people in politics with bogus degrees”.
“Bogus degrees are dangerous than corona degrees,” it quipped. On the governor’s stand that examinations will be held as per the Universities Act, the Sena said laws are applicable not just for universities but other areas also.
“If laws had been followed, an illegal swearing-in wouldn’t have taken place by lifting the President’s rule when people were still asleep,” the Sena said. It was referring to the hush hush early morning ceremony held at Raj Bhavan after the state Assembly polls last year, when BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis was sworn in as chief minister after the Shiv Sena parted ways with the BJP over the issue of sharing the chief ministerial post.