Stalin lauds late Jayalalithaa for designating Chief Minister as TN music varsity's chancellor

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Chennai, Nov 21 (PTI) Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin on Tuesday praised former Chief Minister late J Jayalalithaa for naming the CM of the day as chancellor of the state-run music and fine arts university.

Addressing the second convocation of The Tamil Nadu Dr J Jayalalithaa Music and Fine Arts University here, Stalin said it is the one and only university in the country set up for music and that is its unique feature.

Only in this state-run varsity in Tamil Nadu is the chief minister the chancellor -- a special feature that distinguishes it from other institutions, he pointed out.

Fully funded by the state government, the Tamil Nadu Music and Fine Arts University was established in 2013 when Jayalalithaa was the chief minister. She was also the varsity's first chancellor. Later, the university was named after Jayalithaa in 2019, three years after her death, by the AIADMK regime at the time.

Stalin, stating that he is not "talking politics" but only "spelling out a fact", said an institution can grow only if the CM functions as chancellor -- seemingly expressing opposition to the Governor's position as chancellor of universities.

If the post of chancellor is held by "others", the very purpose of achieving growth would be defeated, the chief minister opined, adding that former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa considered this and decided that the CM of the day shall be the music varsity's chancellor -- and implemented it accordingly.

"We can wholeheartedly appreciate her (Jayalalithaa) for this. Considering the present situation, I too heartily laud her," he said.

At the convocation ceremony, the university conferred honorary doctorates on iconic playback singer P Susheela and noted music historian B M Sundaram.

Pointing to the awarding of the doctorates, Stalin said he could take such decisions reflecting the wishes of the people, as he is the varsity's chancellor.

"That is why we say that the chief minister should be the chancellor of all (state-administered) universities. For this purpose, we have passed bills in the assembly," the chief minister said, and added that related matters are before the Supreme Court.

The Tamil Nadu government had recently approached the Supreme Court over files and bills, "kept pending" by Governor R N Ravi.

Stalin said that education must be brought under the state list from the present concurrent list, as allocated in the Constitution, reiterating his stand on the issue. Only then, states can achieve the goal of education and higher education for all, he said.

"I am not saying this only for the sake of Tamil Nadu; but this is for all the states in India," he said, adding that hindrance-free access to education for all is the ideal of the Dravidian model of governance.

Stalin announced that the state grant for the music varsity would be increased to Rs 3 crore from the next fiscal and an allocation of Rs 1 crore for purposes including a research centre would be provided.

On 18 November, 2023, the Tamil Nadu assembly re-enacted bills returned by Governor Ravi and sent them again to Raj Bhavan.

The ruling DMK is batting for designating the chief minister as the chancellor of state government-run universities. The governor is at present the chancellor of state varsities, barring the music university. PTI VGN ANE