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Congress leaders come to Rahul Gandhi's defence after VCs' open letter

New Delhi: Congress leaders including Manickam Tagore, Ajai Rai and Avinash Pande came to Rahul Gandhi's defence after a collective of 181 Vice Chancellors issued an open letter against Gandhi's alleged remarks on their appointment.
Speaking on the matter, Manickam Tagore questioned the intention of the first two signatories - Vinayak Pathak, VC, CSJM University, Kanpur and Bhagwati Prakash Sharma, VC, Gautam Buddha University, Noida.
"A few professors have written a letter this morning. Rahul Gandhi had raised a very serious issue - how people of one ideology and unqualified people are being included in the system. If you look at the signatories - a CBI probe is underway against Mr Pathak in connection with an extortion case," Tagore said in a self-made video on Monday.
"Another is one Bhagawati who is the national co-convener of RSS' Swadeshi Jagran Manch. People of RSS ideology have written the letter. Many of them are unqualified. They have just one qualification - all of them are associated with RSS. After the formation of the INDI Alliance government, the first work would be to clean this system and weed out unqualified people from the system," he added.
Earlier in the day, in a post on X, Tagore pointed out the "RSS affiliation" of the VCs, "Regarding the first signatory, Vinay Pathak, under CBI probe for extortion, and the second signatory, Bhagwati Prakash Sharma, with strong RSS ties, raise serious questions. Their qualifications is their RSS affiliations. Rahul Gandhi's statement is 100% true. #RSSVCs"
UP Congress president Ajay Rai alleged that the VCs are appointed based on the number of days they worked for the "Sangh".
"The Vice Chancellors are not being appointed on their calibre and experience but on the number of days they have worked for the 'Sangh'. Such BJP workers will never have transparency. He will never be loyal, true to education," Rai said while speaking to ANI.
UP Congress in-charge Avinash Pande called it a "criminal act."
"People who are associated with RSS, are being made VCs and those who are concerned about the future of this country, are worried. I think that in a way this is a criminal act and playing with the people of the country and the future of the country," Avinash Pande told ANI.
Earlier in the day, a collective including Vice Chancellors and academicians across the country wrote an open letter against Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in connection with his alleged remarks on the appointment of VCs.
In the letter, it was stated, "It has come to our notice from tweet and open sources of Rahul Gandhi, Congress leader that appointment of Vice Chancellors is made solely based on affiliation with some organisation rather than based on merit and qualification thereby questioning the merit of the process through which the Vice Chancellors are appointed."
The letter dismissed the alleged claims by Rahul Gandhi saying, "We categorically and unequivocally discard such claims." It also accused Rahul Gandhi of defaming the office of the VCs at large with an "intent to derive political mileage".
"With utmost conviction, the Vice Chancellors of prestigious Universities nationwide and academic leaders, address and refute the baseless allegations that have recently been circulated concerning the selection process," the letter stated.
"In view of the fact that Rahul Gandhi has resorted to falsehood and has defamed the Office of the Vice Chancellors at large with the intent to derive the political mileage out of it. It is, therefore, earnestly prayed that appropriate action be taken against him forthwith in accordance with law," it added.
Speaking on the open letter and Rahul Gandhi's alleged remarks, Bhagwati Prakash Sharma, Vice Chancellor of Gautam Buddha University, Noida called it "stupidity" on the Congress leader's part.
"Vice Chancellors of the universities are all highly qualified and will have a professorship of at least 10 years. Most of the VCs in the country are PhD holders, various degree holders and will have various patents to their credit. Despite all this, his claims that Narendra Modi has made all RSS people VCs, then there are many places where there are Congress governments. Did Narendra Modi appoint VCs there too?" he said.
Bhagwati Prakash Sharma is also among the 181 signatories. "VCs are never appointed through the Prime Minister, it is done through UGC's selection process. There are multiple private universities where the government doesn't have any say. So making such allegations on the appointments is stupid," the VC added.
Among the signatories are VCs from institutions across the country including Central Universities, Delhi University, Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi, former chairperson of UGC, NCERT director among others.

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