‘Do not politicise’: TN Governor defends appointment of Anna University VC

The appointment of MK Surappa, who is from Karnataka, was slammed by several political leaders in light of the Cauvery dispute.
‘Do not politicise’: TN Governor defends appointment of Anna University VC
‘Do not politicise’: TN Governor defends appointment of Anna University VC
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Even as his decision to appoint MK Surappa as Vice-Chancellor of Anna University on April 5 was questioned by Opposition parties in the state, Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit has responded to critics, requesting that politics be kept out of the matter.

Defending the choice in a four-page statement submitted to the press on Saturday, the Governor said, “The whole process was fair and transparent. The welfare of the Anna University and Engineering Colleges affiliated to the University, faculty and the students was kept in mind when making the selection. Since there has been no extraneous interference in the selection process and since the choice of the Vice-Chancellor was done entirely in accordance with the statute, it is requested that politics be kept out and unnecessary mud-slinging avoided.”

Calling the entire process ‘fair and transparent”, the statement also pointed out that the due processes of notification, advertisement, shortlisting, interviews and selection were all followed.

The search committee to appoint the VC consisted of Justice VS Sirpurkar, Dr N Sundara Devan, and Dr R Gnanamoorthy.

The statement also pointed out that all three shortlisted candidates for the post were from backward class category: Dr H Devaraj, Dr S Ponnusamy and Dr MK Surappa.

“The selection was purely based on the need for Anna University to have at its helm of affairs, a Vice-Chancellor who understands the needs of Technical Education in Tamil Nadu to steer the future of the University, faculty and the students in the most suitable manner. The selection has been done in accordance with the laid down statutes. The selection was done from out of the list of 3 candidates submitted by the Search Committee which consisted of illustrious personalities. The whole process was fair and transparent,” the statement read.

MK Surappa’s appointment was criticised by political leaders in the state on several grounds from the process of selection to him being a native of Karnataka – TN is in an ongoing dispute with the state over the sharing of Cauvery River water.

Surappa had previously served as the Director of the Indian Institute of Technology, Ropar, for six years. A Doctorate in Metallurgical Engineering, Surappa has 30 years of teaching experience of which 24 years were spent at the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru.

Tamil Nadu has witnessed several protests over the last couple of weeks over the non-formation of the Cauvery Management Board as per the Supreme Court’s February 16verdict. The appointment came on April 5 the same day as the Tamil Nadu state bandh.

In a tweet on Thursday night, Leader of the Opposition and DMK Working President MK Stalin said, “We ask the Governor to not belittle the scholars and academicians from Tamil Nadu by bringing people in a row from outside for various positions. There should also be no attempt made to saffronise the educational premises in Tamil Nadu.”

Actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan also slammed the move tweeting, “We asked for water from Karnataka and we get a vice-chancellor from Karnataka instead. The gulf between people and the government cannot be more obvious. Are they taunting us so we react adversely? I wonder what their game plan is.”

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