Fierce competition among professors to get a berth

As many as 18 candidates, six independents are contesting for the six seats at the syndicate of the university.

Chennai: Even as the campaign for syndicate election of University of Madras is drawing to a close, many professors predicted a fiercely contested syndicate election on Saturday as an unusually high number of independent candidates are fighting for a foothold in the university's decision-making body.

This election is considered significant because the University of Madras is in the cusp of major changes in policies, strategies and winners of this election are likely to have a strong influence on the 160-year-old university's future.

As many as 18 candidates, six independents are contesting for the six seats at the syndicate of the university. Two associations - Madras University Teachers Association (MUTA) and the Professors Forum of Madras University are facing a tough test.

While the overall trend suggesting Professors Forum has an edge, the independent candidates also pose significant challenge creating uncertainty in the outcome.

As announced by the university, totally 124 Senate members will vote in the election, which will be held on the university premises.

"The election scale might be tipped by ex-officio members, MLAs and Governor nominees this time. On earlier occasions, some members abstain from senate meeting and elections. However, this time around they all are likely to show up to choose their preferred candidates," sources said.

So far, professors alleged that the campaign promises are more driven by personal agenda than the public policy issues. Candidates from Professors Forum exuded confidence that they would win all the six seats.

"Independent candidates or college principals will only work for their individual or institutional agenda, whereas the organised body will work on the issues concerning the university. The Senate members are convinced with our work in the syndicate in the past three years where we fought for issues concerned the welfare of the university," they said.

Though the influence of money in the election has not been reported so far, some professors alleged that few candidates sought votes along the lines of caste.

Some sources said the Madras University Teachers Association still relying on the retired professors for a campaign.

"As far as MUTA is concerned the campaign is very healthy and there was no personal attack. We are for a healthy syndicate and redeeming the glory of Madras University," said Professor G.Ravindran, president, MUTA.

Some independent candidates are campaigning claiming that they have the support of the university administration and government. However, when enquired, the officials denied having any direct involvement in the elections.

Madras University Vice-Chancellor P.Duraisamy was confident that the election will be conducted smoothly without any disturbances. "All are matured faculty members. So, we don't expect any problem. The voting will go up to 4.30 pm and after that, the results will be declared," he said.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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