Zafar Sareshwala, who was Muslim face of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s election campaign, has been preferred over personalities like Amitabh Bachchan, Gulzar and Azim Premji for the post of Chancellor of Maulana Azad National Urdu University by the Union government.
The documents accessed by PTI show that names of six people were considered by Executive Council of the University for the post of Chancellor as the term of Dr Syeda Hameed, a known academician, came to end on July 10, 2014.
Besides Sareshwala, a car dealer, those shortlisted by the Council included actor Amitabh Bachchan, poet Gulzar, Wipro Chairman Azim Premzi, former Chief Justice of India A M Ahmadi and first Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah.
The shorlisted names were sent to the Ministry of Human Resources Development by the University on December 1, 2014, the records accessed under the RTI Act show.
“The Chancellor is appointed by the President of India who is a visitor of the University for a period of three years (As per statute 1(1) of MANUU Act reads as ‘The chancellor shall be appointed by the Visitor from a panel of not less than three eminent persons recommended by the Executive Council from amogst persons of eminence in academic or public life of the country),” the letter carrying names said.
It said that the Executive Council in its meeting held on November 8, 2014 proposed a few names and authorised vice-chancellor to communicate the same to the MHRD.
The Ministry finalised the name of Sareshwala saying he “gives the amalgamation of youth and industry hence the Institution can benefit from his leadership”.
Surprisingly, a noting is inserted in between the lines of above noting says, “A penal (corrected as panel) of three or more names may be recommended.”
Later, in the summary sent to the President for appointment of the Chancellor, the Ministry said,”The Ministry of Human Resource Development recommends that the President of India, in his capacity as Visitor of the University, may consider and appoint Zafar Sareshwala, who gives the amalgamation of youth and industry expertise, as chancellor of Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Hyderabad.”
Sareshwala, a car dealer in Gujarat, had gained prominence as a Muslim face who canvassed vigorously for Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his election campaign.
He was also behind the launch of Urdu web site on Modi in the run up to the high voltage election campaign.