DU holds ‘Viksit Bharat Run’ despite poll code violation plaint, teachers’ objection

Published - May 09, 2024 01:19 am IST - New Delhi

Delhi University (DU) on Wednesday went ahead with the ‘Viksit Bharat Run’ event even as it was accused of mobilising the youth to vote for the BJP in the Lok Sabha election.

A day before the event, DU authorities asked officials and principals of affiliated colleges not to distribute orange caps among participants, as planned earlier. The colour is similar to that usually associated with the BJP.

Orange caps

“We were supposed to distribute orange caps, but we got messages from university officials last night asking us not to proceed with it. No reason was given for the change,” a nodal officer said.

The Congress had on Tuesday lodged a complaint with the Election Commission (EC), saying the event was being organised in violation of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC).

Several members of the university’s Executive and Academic Council had written to DU Vice-Chancellor Yogesh Singh a few days ago, saying the event should not be held given that Delhi is scheduled to vote in less than three weeks.

However, DU officials maintained that the event had “no political aims”.

5,000 student participants

According to university officials, 5,000 students took part in the 2.5-km-long run.

Bollywood actor Rajkummar Rao and badminton player Saina Nehwal were also present at the event.

Viksit Bharat T-shirts were also handed over to students. The Vice-Chancellor asked students to strengthen democracy by casting their ballot in the Lok Sabha poll.

Meanwhile, a professor, who did not wish to be identified, slammed the university authorities, saying, “It was an event that strongly resonated with the BJP government.”

She said sending ideas to the Prime Minister’s Office for the event and then encouraging students to take selfies with the PM’s cut-out during Wednesday’s programme was “an attempt to influence the impressionable minds of young voters”.

However, Prof. Pramod Shastri from Kirori Mal College’s Physical Education Department said, “We knew that those aligned with Left-wing ideology would oppose the event. They believe that the programme is politically motivated. But if you mean that Viksit Bharat@2047 has a political agenda, then you can keep on shouting.”

The Viksit Bharat programme was launched by the Prime Minister in December last year.

It aims to give a platform to the youth to “contribute thoughts to the vision of Viksit Bharat @2047 — the idea of a developed India by 2047, the 100th year of Independence”.

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