A new controversy has erupted in Madhya Pradesh after government and private engineering colleges were told to send 100 students each to attend Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rally, scheduled for 14 April in Mhow, 30 kms from Indore.
According to a report in Indian Express, colleges have been directed to arrange for buses and send a teacher to accompany these students for the rally.
The rally is being held to commemorate the birth anniversary of Dr Baba Sahab Bhimrao Ambedkar.
The order, according to the report, has been signed by Assistant Commissioner (tribal welfare) Mohini Shrivastava and was sent on 7 April.
The colleges say that many of them don’t even have their own vehicles and the timing of the rally coincides with students’ exams.
Shrivastava told the paper that the students will act as volunteers and help in crowd management.
She said, “The engineering and management colleges themselves volunteered to send students. Where will they get such exposure of volunteering in a rally to be addressed by the PM. We will issue them certificates.”
Faced with the criticism on social media, the government has now stepped in to clarify that the order wasn’t binding on the colleges and oly those enrolled with youth organisations such as NCC and NSS had been asked to be sent for volunteers’ roles at the rally.
The opposition Congress in the state has slammed the order saying that this reflected the nervousness on the part of the state government, which did not feel confident of ensuring crowd for the PM’s rally.
Congress spokesperson K K Mishra said such an order had never been issued in the past. He said the ruling party was not confident of rallying a big crowd for the event and was forcing students to attend it to increase numbers. “It’s also an indication of Modi’s declining popularity,’’ he said.