Viswa-Bharati convocation: Mamata unhappy over PMO not giving clearance to confer Desikottam
Viswa-Bharati University had recommended seven persons including Amitabh Bachchan, authors Amitav Ghosh and Suniti Kumar Pathak, for the Desikottam honour this year
Kolkata: A day ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Santiniketan for the Viswa-Bharati University’s convocation, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee said she was unhappy that the university will not be conferring its highest honour, Desikottam, this year despite its executive council recommending seven persons for it.
A little over a month ago, the university had recommended actor Amitabh Bachchan, authors Amitav Ghosh and Suniti Kumar Pathak, lyricist Gulzar, singer Dwijen Mukherjee scientist Ashok Sen, and painter Jogen Chowdhury for Desikottam.
But the university did not get the clearance from the prime minister’s officer to confer the honour, according to a spokesperson for the university. The clearance of the prime minister was required because he is the chancellor of the university.
A section of Viswa-Bharati officials said that the prime minister’s office had pointed out that the selection of the awardees may have been politically influenced. These officials, who asked not to be named, were referring to the inclusion of Chowdhury, a Trinamool Congress MP in the Rajya Sabha, in the list.
However, others at the university said clearance did not come from Delhi because the prime minister’s visit is short and he wouldn’t have enough time to give away the awards.
Banerjee said that it is sad that the university will not be awarding the Desikottam this year.
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will attend the convocation on Friday and inaugurate the Bangladesh Bhavan on the campus of the university. The two prime ministers are set to meet after the convocation and have bilateral discussions.
Banerjee said she will be meeting Hasina in Kolkata on Saturday.
It is widely expected that the leaders will be discussing the sensitive Teesta issue when they meet over the next two days. Bangladesh claims West Bengal has artificially altered the flow of the river. Teesta has in the past few years dried up in Bangladesh.
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