Even after losing the battle for the Gujarat Legislative Assembly, the Congress in Gujarat is in no mood to let go power it held for decades at Gujarat University (GU), the state’s largest university. After senior leader Narhari Amin, earlier the face of the party in the varsity, switched loyalties to the ruling party, the Congress is nowhere in GU’s politics.
But as the focus now shifts to the side-effects of the elections, the Congress is set to initiate a fight to regain power at the varsity. One of the biggest concerns for the party is that Amin is a member of the executive council - also known as the syndicate body – nominated by the state governor.
As it is considered to be an appointment considering Amin’s contributions to education and not politics, the Congress has limited options to remove Amin from the post even after he joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). “The only way available is, if he resigns from the post of a syndicate member as a governor’s nominee,” said a source in the Congress, adding, “So, we will create a situation where Amin himself resigns from the post.”
If the Congress succeeds in doing so, it will have an opportunity to introduce a new political face in the university. However, resigning from the syndicate as the governor’s nominee would not mean losing the post at GU for Amin. Sources said that if he is removed as the governor’s nominee, the BJP might nominate him in the syndicate as a member appointed by the government. There are four government nominees in GU’s syndicate body.
Along with Amin, Congress-backed candidate Himanshu Patel is a syndicate member as the governor’s appointee. Congress members said that would be interesting to see how the BJP deals with the issue as in the past they had alleged that Amin’s appointment was politically motivated.
All the powerful twists and turns in the university’s politics have made senior officials curious. They are eagerly awaiting Amin’s attitude towards the newly appointed vice-chancellor Dr Adesh Pal, who enjoys the BJP’s strong support.
“We want to see how Amin would address the issues that he raised in the past. As a Congressman, he had alleged that Dr Pal had used special powers assigned to him to avail of UGC grants and did not consult the academic council. He had also alleged that many colleges were allowed to admit more students than they had permission for. We want to see how he handles all these issues against Dr Pal, who had taken support of the BJP to counter Amin,” said a source in the varsity.
With power tussle at GU likely to gain momentum, only time will decide Amin’s future association with GU.