On Tuesday, the Gujarat Vidyapith conferred degrees on 928 students in the absence of outgoing Chancellor Elaben Bhatt and nine trustees who resigned Monday, citing “unethical use of power” for the Chancellor’s appointment as well as the government’s removal of the institute’s independence.
Vice-Chancellor Rajendra Khimani was unsure when new Chancellor Governor Acharya Devvrat would take over. “That will be announced once it is confirmed,” Khimani told.
Khimani stated that the absence of Elaben Bhatt from her last convocation as Chancellor was due to illness, and that the issue of trustee resignations would be resolved through dialogues.
“They have guided us over the years… Through dialogues, we will continue to strive to seek guidance of our well-wishers,” Khimani said in his address at the convocation.
Interacting with the media after the event, Khimani said, “We have shared the trustee mandal’s decision (to not accept eight resignations) through an official statement yesterday (Monday). The issue can be resolved with the help of dialogues.We hope for the best… We are clear that through talks we can resolve this issue as we all work together and for the society.”
Khimani added that he would not like to comment on the resignations further. When asked about the irregularities and existing enquiries on various appointments, Khimani said that he would talk only about the convocation.
On questions over Governor Devvrat’s selection as Chancellor, novelist and poet professor Ragh-uveer Chaudhari, who presided over the convocation, said, “We cannot say anything at the moment. We do not know him, do not know about his gurukul, he is into natural farming. So I cannot give my opinion on him.”
On Monday, nine of the Vidyapith’s 24 trustees resigned, claiming that Governor’s appointment as Chancellor was “not spontaneous nor unanimous decision of the Board of Trustees, but under crass political pressure.” However, according to an official statement issued by the Vidyapith, the resignation of “eight” trustees was not accepted.503 of the 928 degree recipients were female. There were also 32 PhDs, 15 M Phils, 415 MAs, 410 BAs, and 56 PG diplomas.