India Politics
Uttar Pradesh assembly meets to finish leftover agenda
May 9, 2007 - 2:08:29 PM

Lucknow, May 9 - In a session that will go down in posterity, the Uttar Pradesh assembly met Wednesday just four days before its term expires to grant minority status to a university in minister Azam Khan's hometown Rampur.

The last time such a thing happened was in 1957 when the house met to seek a vote of account on an interim budget of the state. But today, it was to give minority status to Urban Development and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Azam Khan's dream project - the Maulana Mohammad Ali Jauhar University.

'It was way back in 1957 that the UP house witnessed a similar meet exactly three days before expiry of term of the second assembly,' Speaker Mata Prasad Pandey told IANS.

'The assembly met on March 27, 1957 when results of the fresh election had already been announced and the new assembly was waiting to be constituted on April 1,' he added.

But this time is clearly different.

With the seven-phase assembly elections ending Tuesday and results being announced Friday, this assembly session is being seen as a last desperate bid by Mulayam Singh Yadav's Samajwadi Party government to push leftover agenda.

Informed sources said the objective behind the meet was 'to pass an amendment in the University Bill to grant the Jaujar university minority status'.

The amendment being pushed Wednesday is aimed at insuring that only Muslims be appointed as the university's vice chancellor, pro-vice chancellor and other key positions.

Another amendment being sought is to have a retired judge look into complaints relating to violation of the law or against any kind of mismanagement. The existing provision lays down 'appointment of an inquiry officer by the state government' in such cases.

'Now even if any government wants to scrap the university or make any alterations in its rules and regulations, it would require a three-fourth majority of both houses of the state legislature to do so,' said a veteran Samajwadi Party leader.

The bill for setting up the university was passed by the state on May 18, 2005 following which it was sent to Governor T.V. Rajeshwar for his constitutional assent. However, the governor raised certain queries and the bill was returned to the government at least twice.

Azam Khan eventually initiated fresh moves to set up the university in the private sector, for which he finally got the governor's green signal.

Envisaged as a 297 acre campus on the outskirts of Rampur city, the university will have separate colleges for engineering, medicine, dentistry, law, home sciences and vocational training as well as routine degree courses.

'Our main emphasis will be on providing quality education that would match international standards,' said Khan, who claimed to have offered the seed capital from his personal resources.

'Now we wish to insure a minority status for this university on the same lines as Aligarh Muslim University -,' added Khan.

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