Nobel Prize-winning economist Amartya Sen “excluded” himself from his candidature for a second term as the chancellor of India's Nalanda University, alleging that the Narendra Modi-led government did not want him to continue in his position, according to local media reports. However, a day after his statement, the Indian government responded saying that it had not made any attempt to "curtail" Sen's tenure.
In a letter written to the board of the university, Sen reportedly said that it was "hard for him not to conclude that the government" wanted him to “cease” being the chancellor, according to local media reports. Sen also alleged that India's Bharatiya Janata Party-led government was interfering with what is essentially an internal matter of the university because he had been a vocal critic of Modi.
"As an Indian voter, it is my liberty to like a candidate or not. On the other side, it's for the board to decide on the chancellor. If the government has taken a view -- I don't know whether the Prime Minister had but if he had -- it would be asymmetric because it's not his role," Sen said in an interview with NDTV, a local news network, on Friday.
According to local media reports, the governing body of the university had recommended another term for the Nobel Laureate in January 2015, but the government remained undecided on it. Sen's current term ends in July.
However, the Indian government's Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said that it could not act on the recommendation as it was yet to receive the approved minutes of the meetings of the university's governing body.
Sugata Bose, a board member of the university, which was established in 2014, said that Sen's decision to exclude himself from consideration for a second term as the chancellor was a “sad day for the Nalanda dream,” according to local media reports.
"Academic scholars in the State do not have much say in the affairs of the university. This is one of the primary reasons why none of the educational institutes in the country figure in the top 200 educational institutes of the world," Bose reportedly said.