Chennai: The appointment of MK Surappa as the vice chancellor of Anna University here has kicked up a political row with the opposition parties questioning his Kannada origin as Tamil Nadu and Karnataka are embroiled in the Cauvery dispute. Senior minister D.Jayakumar, however, said the state government had nothing to do with the VC’s appointment as it was decided by Governor Banwarilal Purohit in his capacity as Chancellor of the university “from a pool of candidates”.
A Raj Bhavan release on Thursday said Dr Surappa was appointed vice-chancellor of Anna University “for a period of three years from the date of his assumption of office. A former director of IIT Ropar, Surappa, who has a doctorate in Metallurgical Engineering, “enjoys rich teaching experience of more than 30 years, of which 24 years were spent at the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru,” the release said, adding that Surappa has 150 research publications and four patents to his credit.
Opposition parties, however, are not impressed by the new VC’s credentials and have raised demands that the academician from Karnataka be replaced with a Tamil. “At a time when Cauvery protests are raging in Tamil Nadu, the governor appointing Surappa, who is from Karnataka, as the VC of Anna University is not acceptable,” DMK working president and Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly M K Stalin said in his Facebook post. He said academicians, who were “sons of the soil should not be belittled” by such appointments.
PMK founder S Ramadoss in a statement said Surappa’s appointment “is condemnable as it does not respect the sentiments of the people of Tamil Nadu and it must be withdrawn”.
Actor and Makkal Needhi Maiam founder Kamal Haasan in a tweet said, “We asked for water from Karnataka and we get a vice-chancellor from Karnataka instead. The gulf between people and the government cannot be more obvious. Are they taunting us so we react adversely? I wonder what their game plan is”.
MDMK founder Vaiko urged for the withdrawal of Surappa’s appointment and said only an academician from Tamil Nadu should be nominated for the coveted post.