Manoj Soni was appointed to the search panel by the joint board of vice chancellors on Tuesday. He is the second member of the three-member search panel formed to choose the next VC of Gujarat University (GU).
Currently serving a second term as the VC of Baba Saheb Ambedkar Open University, Soni is also backed by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). Earlier, GU’s academic and executive council had appointed Yogesh Singh, VC of the MS University of Baroda, to the search panel. With Soni’s appointment, two of the three members — Soni and Singh — are staunch RSS supporters.
Observers felt that with two RSS-backed members in the committee, BJP might have an upper hand in shortlisting candidates. But with the chairman of the committee being backed by the Governor, a Congress member, the list may not be dominated by saffron party supporters.
Completion of the search panel, however, still awaits the appointment of the third member, who would be appointed by Governor Dr Kamla. And, he will be the chairman of the panel.
According to the process, the search panel will shortlist three names and forward them to the state education department. The government has the right to appoint VC of the state’s largest university.
“It did not take much time to select Manoj Soni for the job,” said one of the members, indicating that Soni’s name was proposed by the state government. “Whether it is the appointment of a search panel member by the academic and executive council or the joint board of VCs, they have to merely announce the name of the candidate,” said a member.