Educationist Yogendra Yadav faces sack from UGC for AAP affiliation

Noted political scientist and psephologist Yogendra Yadav is more than likely to be sacked from the University Grants Commission (UGC) for his political affiliation with Arvind Kejriwal's fledgling Aam Admi Party (AAP).

The ministry of human resource development headed by M M Pallam Raju of the Congress has issued a show-cause notice to Yadav, seeking his response within seven days on why he should not be removed from the post of member UGC.

In the notice issued on Wednesday, the ministry contended that since Yadav is now a senior leader of the AAP, this creates a conflict of interest.

It was assumed the UGC – the overarching body for state-funded universities – would need an intellectual of Yadav's calibre; and his association with a party that has prevention of corruption as its main plank should not stand in the way.

But the AAP is hated by all mainstream political parties because its main plank is to prevent corruption. Had Yadav been a member of a member of the ruling alliance, things would no doubt be different, say commentators.

Yadav - who became a member of the UGC during Kapil Sibal's tenure as HRD minister - said he had offered to quit soon after he joined the AAP, but was asked to continue by the ministry.

He also noted that the UGC Act allows members to join any political party.

"What surprises me is that the ministry took 10 months to realise this. I had written to them that I had joined politics," Yadav said.

"Clearly, it could be my political involvement. The ministry had tried to change the fundamental tenets of higher education. I raised the issue and it was not political, but they suddenly found me uncomfortable," he added.

If Yadav is axed, it would be the first instance of a UGC member being removed in the Commission's six-decade history.

Yadav told the media that he was being targeted out of "vindictiveness" since he had opposed "shady decisions" of the UGC.

Yadav, 49, is a senior fellow at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) in New Delhi and was among the founder-members of the AAP along with Arvind Kejriwal and Prashant Bhushan.

Yadav has long opposed a redrafted academic performance index for Delhi University's four-year undergraduate programme.

He said the ministry was miffed at him for also opening an Inter-University Centre on teacher training in Kakinada, the Lok Sabha constituency of current minister Pallam Raju.