Mumbai: Newly-appointed Mumbai University Vice Chancellor Sanjay Deshmukh's meeting with MNS chief Raj Thackeray at the latter's residence here has created a flutter in political circles here with some parties on Thursday demanding action against the academician for his "unwarranted" act.
Congress, BJP and NCP were united in voicing objection to the meeting, which took place at Raj's residence in Dadar yesterday, while Shiv Sena, the main political rival of MNS, chose to downplay the issue.
Talking to reporters, Deshmukh had claimed the meeting was "not political" in nature and it was part of his initiative to have a discussion with a wide range of people, including scientists and experts, to improve MU standards.
BJP dispatched a letter of protest to the Governor, who is also Chancellor of all universities in the state, and termed the meeting as "unwarranted."
General Secretary of Mumbai BJP Amarjeet Mishra said Deshmukh has "lowered the dignity" of his office by visiting a party leader.
"If Deshmukh was committed to raise the standards of education, he should have chosen educationists, laureates and other dignitaries who have worked in the field of education (for a meet). But unfortunately he chose to meet a political person," said the letter faxed to Raj Bhavan.
Congress went one step ahead and demanded action against this "misconduct" of Deshmukh.
"Now, the Chancellor (Governor) should check whether a disciplinary action can be taken against Deshmukh under Section 13 of Maharashtra University Act, 1994 which deals with the conduct of a Vice-Chancellor," said Sachin Sawant, spokesperson of Maharashtra Congress.
National Congress Party spokesperson Nawab Malik said "The Vice-Chancellor must clarify in what capacity (personal or official) he met (the MNS leader) and what he achieved."
However, Shiv Sena downplayed the episode, saying this could be linked to the ensuing Senate election at MU.
"May be the Vice-Chancellor wants a smooth Senate election. Since student election is backed by some parties, the meeting could be part of his strategy to take everyone into confidence," said Manisha Kayande, Sena Spokesperson.