The TMC-led West Bengal government has amended the state University laws on 13 June to replace the governor with the chief minister as the chancellor of all 31 state-run universities. In December last year, the Shiv Sena-Congress- Nationalist Congress Party alliance government in Maharashtra passed a Bill taking away the governor’s power to appoint vice-chancellors, while the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DKM)-led Tamil Nadu government passed a similar Bill in April this year. A bill was also passed in the West Bengal assembly on 14 June to appoint the ‘Education Minister’ in place of the governor as the Visitor of private universities in the state.
In 2013 when Narendra Modi was the chief minister of Gujarat, he also passed an amendment which curtailed the rights of the governor in appointing Vice Chancellors of the state universities. In fact, a spate of measures adopted by the BJP-led central government as well as various state governments, both run by the BJP and non-BJP parties, of late, indicate that there is a growing tendency on the part of the power that be to centralize political power in the hands of the Executive and the ruling parties.
While one after another autonomous bodies are replaced by nominated organizations like Planning Commission by Niti Ayog, proposed Rashtriya Shiksha Aayog (RSA) or National Education Commission in place of University Grants Commission etc., personalities allegiant to the ruling parties are appointed as governors and at the top of other key governmental bodies like Election Commission, Film institutions as well as investigative agencies like CBI, ED, NIA.
Apparently, these all would appear as examples of autocratic behaviour by the respective chief ministers or prime minister. But that is not the underlying truth when examined on the anvil of scientific method of analysis. These are all instances of growing concentration of power in the hands of the Executive (bureaucracy and ministers) which is a feature of fascism whose mooring, among others, is in centralization of economic and political power. As Comrade Shibdas Ghosh, Founder General Secretary of the SUCI(C) and an outstanding Marxist thinker of the era, had shown six decades back, fascism is a general feature of crisis-ridden dying capitalism in all imperialist-capitalist countries, advanced or backward.
So, all bourgeois or petty bourgeois leaders or parties, who are in power, have no other alternative but to roll out the fascist policies in order to curry favour with the ruling class by demonstrating their loyalty to it. So, there is incessant curtailment of all democratic rights and trampling of all democratic norms, values and practices and establishing administrative fascism with a façade of parliamentary democracy. It is, therefore, incumbent on the democratic-minded right-thinking people to imbibe the truth and thwart such bit by bit annihilation of democracy by spearheading united organized powerful conscious movement.