Governor gives Mumbai University convocation a miss over 'political drama'

Updated: Nov 27, 2019, 07:34 IST | Pallavi Smart | Mumbai

Varsity officials claim he cancelled plan last minute; Koshyari's office says MU was given notice

Devendra Fadnavis and Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshiyari pay homage to the martyrs of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks at the Memorial erected for the slain personnel at the Police Gymkhana , Marine Drive, on Tuesday. Pic/Suresh Karkera
Devendra Fadnavis and Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshiyari pay homage to the martyrs of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks at the Memorial erected for the slain personnel at the Police Gymkhana , Marine Drive, on Tuesday. Pic/Suresh Karkera

Amid political drama over government formation in the state, the Maharashtra governor gave the Mumbai University convocation on Tuesday a miss at the last minute, claimed the officials at the varsity. Bhagat Singh Koshyari's office, however, said the MU was informed about his plan to not attend the ceremony well in advance.

Governor Koshyari, also the chancellor of state universities, was declared the president of the convocation ceremony, which was attended by Defence Research and Development Organisation Chairman Satheesh Reddy as the chief guest.

 Devendra Fadnavis and Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshiyari pay homage to the martyrs of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks at the Memorial erected for the slain personnel at the Police Gymkhana , Marine Drive, on Tuesday

At the convocation, Pro-Vice Chancellor Dr. Ravindra Kulkarni announced that Vice Chancellor Dr. Suhas Pednekar would preside over the event as the governor would not attend, without giving any explanation for his absence.

"Since the presiding guest, the governor, couldn't make it to the event, the vice chancellor will be taking over. And I will read the V-C's report instead," Pednekar said. The sudden cancellation of the governor's plan raised many eyebrows.

Devendra Fadnavis and Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshiyari pay homage to the martyrs of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks at the Memorial erected for the slain personnel at the Police Gymkhana , Marine Drive, on Tuesday

A senior official on condition of anonymity said, "The date of the convocation ceremony was finalised after discussion with office of the governor and only then he was declared the president for the event.

Accordingly, invites were sent out and posters were printed. This is the first time that a governor has cancelled at the last moment." "The traditional practice is to first invite the governor as president and in case he is unable to confirm, V-C takes over. But the decisions are taken in advance; not at the last minute," the official added.

Meanwhile, the sources at the governor's office claimed that the university was informed about the change of plans well in advance. The governor decided not to go for the convocation because of the prevailing political situation in the state, the sources added.

Also, the Supreme Court's verdict on the petition filed by Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress combine against the swearing-in of Devendra Fadnavis as the chief minister also clashed with the convocation, the sources said. The SC verdict was expected after 10.30 am and the MU's convocation was scheduled to start at 11 am.

However, Koshiyari was on Tuesday photographed paying homage to the martyrs of the 26/11 terror attacks in the city along with Fadnavis.

Girls bag 14 gold medals at convocation

Mumbai University on Tuesday conferred degrees to total of 1,68,239 graduates from various faculties. Among the 1.6 lakh students, 72,076 were girls and 67,007 were boys in under-graduates category and 18,317 girls and 10,839 boys in post graduate category.

A total of 19 gold medals were awarded to 17 students, with the girls bagging 14 of them. MU also conferred Doctor of Literature degree to Dr. Avinash Biniewale for his work in German language for a Marathi to German language dictionary.

The university conferred the Doctor of Literature degree for research after over a decade. The Doctor of Science degree was conferred to Dr. Balkrishna Eknath Narkhede, a lecturer at the National Institute of Industrial Engineering for his publication ­— 'An empirical study on manufacturing strategies and business performance.'

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