Kolkata, March 28: While the rest of India is abuzz with the preparations for the Lok Sabha polls, the eastern metropolis witnessed a different kind of exercise.
In a referendum conducted by the students’ body at the Presidency University, over 70 percent of those who participated Friday demanded the resignation of Trinamool Congress candidate Sugata Bose from the chairmanship of the varsity’s Mentor Group (MG).
Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s grand nephew and Harvard University professor Sugata Bose’s foray into politics has drawn sharp criticism from the students’ body led by the Independents’ Consolidation (IC).
According to the group, the mentor group’s sanctity would be “sacrificed” if Bose remained at the helm while campaigning for the April-May polls as a Trinamool candidate from the Jadavpur Lok Sabha constituency.
In a polling exercise spanning Thursday and Friday, out of a total of 2,135 students at the university, 1,541 cast their votes for the two options- ‘he should resign’ and ‘he should not resign’.
A staggering 1,208 of those votes were in favour of the chairperson quitting, while only 316 wanted him to stay on as the head, said IC convenor Madhusree Das. The 1,208 votes correspond to 78.3 percent of the voters.
The results of the poll have been conveyed to Bose but he is yet to respond, she said.
“We have no issue of him joining politics as a citizen, but we have objections to his foraying into politics while he remains the chairman of the MG – initially instituted to prevent party politics on the campus. The group’s sanctity will be sacrificed,” she explained.
In an interview to IANS earlier, Bose said he found the protests “surprising.”
“But what I will say is I am a bit surprised when this kind of a view is put forth.
“I teach at Harvard and most of my faculty colleagues are registered Democrats because there are more Democrats, and they have to register as members of a party to vote …and all that… what they do is not to bring party politics into university and I think that’s what we should do here,” he said, adding that an “overwhelming majority” of Presidency University students and faculty understand his position.
Contacted by IANS Friday after the referendum results, a representative of the historian said the professor has no comments to offer.