DU's 'Viksit Bharat' Event Faces Opposition from Teachers' Bodies Alleging Government Promotion

Delhi University's 'Run for Viksit Bharat' event, which promotes the government's 'Viksit Bharat' campaign, has sparked controversy. Several teachers' associations have opposed it as a violation of the Model Code of Conduct enforced due to the ongoing Lok Sabha elections. They allege it is "election propaganda" for the BJP-led government. The presence of BJP leader Kuljeet Chahal in event preparations has also raised concerns. However, Delhi University Teachers' Association president A.K. Bhagi maintains the event is not politically related. Aam Aadmi Party leader Saurabh Bharadwaj has demanded ECI action against DU for violating the Model Code of Conduct.

PTI | New Delhi | Updated: 03-05-2024 21:21 IST | Created: 03-05-2024 21:16 IST
DU's 'Viksit Bharat' Event Faces Opposition from Teachers' Bodies Alleging Government Promotion
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A few teachers' associations on Friday opposed a Delhi University programme centred around the central government's 'Viksit Bharat' campaign, saying it violated the Model Code of Conduct in place due to the ongoing Lok Sabha elections, and termed it as ''election propaganda'' of the Narendra Modi government.

Delhi University on Thursday announced that a 'Run for Viksit Bharat' will be organised on May 8 in collaboration with Vikas Bharat Ambassador Club in which about 5,000 students from different colleges are expected to participate.

The university said the objective behind the event is to ''bring awareness in the society to make Bharat a developed nation by 2047''. 'Vikshit Bharat 2047' is a flagship campaign of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party-led central government.

The teachers' bodies also said BJP leader Kuljeet Chahal was present at a meeting held to outline the preparations for the event. Chahal is the national convener of the Namo app -- a personal online interface of Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicated to giving updates on his day-to-day activities.

However, president of Delhi University Teachers' Association A K Bhagi said that the event had ''nothing to do with the general elections'' and that a government scheme need not be linked to a political party. DUTA is led by the RSS-backed National Democratic Teachers' Front (NDTF). Two teachers' bodies slammed Delhi University over the decision to hold the event on Friday, saying it will approach the Election Commission of India over the matter.

''We strongly object to the programme 'Run for Viksit Bharat' to be held by Delhi University on May 8. It is a clear-cut violation of the Model Code of Conduct of the Election Commission of India, which is in force from March 16. Organising such programmes during election campaigns leads to campaigning for a specific party contesting elections and it reflects the mindset of the authorities to saffronise an academic institution which is an abode of learning,'' Indian National Teachers Congress said in a statement. Questioning the presence of BJP leader Chahal in a meeting related to the event, INTC said, ''How come an active politician from a party uses an academic institution for such a programme which is against the guidelines already notified by the ECI?'' The teachers' association also demanded that the event be cancelled. The Democratic Teachers' Front termed the 'Viksit Bharat' run to be ''election propaganda for Modi'' and demanded that the DU administration cancel the run.

''After Galgotia University coercing students to participate in a fake protest against the Congress manifesto, is it DU administration's turn to bat for Modi ?'' the DTF said in a statement.

A functionary of the ruling party has been involved in preparatory activities for the event, the DTF claimed.

''It is clear that a public institution is sought to be converted into an appendage of the outgoing ruling dispensation to try and influence the decisions of voters,'' it added.

The teachers association alleged that colleges are being forced to send students to participate in the run even though they have practical exams and are currently ''busy preparing for exams and submissions''.

''Scheduling this event at this time will disrupt the teaching learning process as well as the ability of students to prepare themselves academically for the forthcoming end-semester examinations,'' it said.

Earlier on March 21, the Election Commission of India, in a bid to ''ensure a level-playing field'', directed the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology to stop circulating messages about the Viksit Bharat campaign while the MCC was in place.

DUTA president Bhagi however said the event has nothing to do with elections and the Viksit Bharat campaign should be supported or opposed based on its merits, not based on the party that brought it. '''Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat' is an initiative of the Ministry of Human Resource Development. EBSB was launched on 31st October 2015 to celebrate the 140th birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.

In my opinion Viksit Bharat is the extension of this initiative launched by Government of India. It has nothing to do with the general elections as such,'' Bhagi said.

''Therefore, support or opposition of a government scheme can be done on its merits and demerits and not on which party in power has brought it,'' he said.

''Like others, I find no logic to link a government scheme for promoting a party by any institution or university,'' Bhagi added.

Senior Aam Aadmi Party leader and Delhi minister Saurabh Bharadwaj also demanded the ECI to take action against the ''violation'' by Delhi University.

''Open violation of Model Code of Conduct by centrally administered DU. ECI should take immediate action. How can DU hold a run on Central Govts program called Viksit Bharat ? Why is BJP office bearer attending preparatory meetings?'' he wrote on X.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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