Some feel that Swamy's name cropping up in the issue is not mere co-incidence

Swamy as JNU VC HRD Ministry rubbishes claims Swamy not eligible for postSubramanian Swamy (centre); Image source:
news Friday, September 25, 2015 - 09:53

Putting all speculations to rest regarding BJP leader Subramanian Swamy being one of the persons to have been offered the post of Vice Chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), the HRD Ministry has reportedly clarified that the government has made no such move. 

The Times of India reported that officials in the ministry feel that it was Swamy's own tweets which helped stoke the rumours. 

“He talked of pre-conditions before accepting the post. There is nothing he has written to us--pre-conditions or anything else--on the JNU matter,” a ministry source told the newspaper. 

It is unlikely that the ministry would make Swamy the offer because he does not qualify for the post of VC of any university since he is over 75 years old and a VC of a central university retires at 70, even if his/her term isn't over.

The second reason pointed out by the report is that a search-cum-selection committee for JNU has still not been set up. "While JNU has sent names of two nominees for the selection committee, nominees from the Visitor (President of India) have not been finalised. The term of the present VC, S K Sopory , ends next January , though JNU sources said he wants to be relieved earlier due to some commitments," states the report. 

However, some feel that Swamy's name cropping up in the issue is not mere co-incidence. A senior JNU faculty member told TOI, “It could be a trial balloon. Of course, he cannot be made VC but what if he is made the chancellor of JNU? Anything is possible."

Apart from the story going viral on social media, the student community of JNU also said they’d protest any such move by the government. In a statement they said, "Be it Mr Swamy or any other regressive figure, the student community will resist any attempts at saffronisation of JNU with all its might".

Keshava Guha in states how the "'Swamy to JNU' showed Indian Twitter and the media at their worst". He points out that it was a PTI report which claimed the Swamy could be the next VC of JNU and that DNA was the only paper to have carried it then, following which it was picked up by social media.

Guha writes that since Swamy is not eligible for the post of VC, the original report "confused the position of VC with the ceremonial post of Chancellor, for which there is no retirement age."

He further writes, "Swamy being appointed Chancellor of JNU would have little or no practical consequence for the faculty or students, but it would elicit protests on a scale even greater than the FTII strike. It would be not so much waving a red rag at a bull as installing a large Manchester United banner at Anfield, home of Liverpool: purely symbolic but infuriating. Even a government with as low an opinion of JNU as this one might well see such a move as more trouble than it is worth."