After DU, Jindal University asks students to volunteer for ‘Viksit Bharat’ event

Selected students will get to work with Naveen Jindal, BJP’s Kurukshetra nominee, as part of Viksit Bharat programme: Jindal University; teachers’ outfit says DU’s ‘Viksit Bharat Run’ violates poll code

Updated - May 04, 2024 08:03 am IST

Published - May 04, 2024 01:11 am IST - NEW DELHI

Delhi University Vice-Chancellor Yogesh Singh addresses the Viksit Bharat Ambassadors’ ‘Nari Shakti Conclave’ at DU Sports Complex indoor stadium in New Delhi. File

Delhi University Vice-Chancellor Yogesh Singh addresses the Viksit Bharat Ambassadors’ ‘Nari Shakti Conclave’ at DU Sports Complex indoor stadium in New Delhi. File | Photo Credit: ANI

A day after Delhi University announced to hold a ‘Viksit Bharat Run’ for 5,000 students on May 8, O.P. Jindal Global University (JGU) on Friday sent an email to students announcing a ‘Viksit Bharat’ event on Sunday. The email stated that the event — ‘Democracy in Action Programme (DIAP)’ — will give “selected students” a chance to “work closely with the Chancellor of JGU, Mr. Naveen Jindal, a candidate for Lok Sabha poll from the Kurukshetra constituency” in Haryana. It asked volunteers to apply for the programme.

Meanwhile, Delhi University’s teachers’ unions on Friday condemned the May 8 event. The unions said the event, a 2.5-km run, which was announced following a meeting between university officials and BJP leader Kuljeet Singh Chahal on Thursday, was a violation of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC).

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”.

BJP candidate

Mr. Jindal, who has won the Lok Sabha seat twice on Congress tickets, is fighting as the BJP nominee this year. He is up against INDIA bloc candidate and Aam Aadmi Party’s Haryana chief Sushil Gupta and INLD secretary general Abhay Singh Chautala.

While the event is touted as “an opportunity to learn first-hand how the world’s largest democracy works through its electoral process”, some termed it a “campaign for a particular political party”.

Open letter

Hours after JGU’s email, a student, who did not wish to be named, wrote an open letter to the administration, saying the event was being used to get the university students “to campaign for a particular party’s candidate”.

It added that the event was being held in contravention of an office order dated February 12, which prohibits students from officially associating the university with any political organisation.

“This comes at a time when two students [of the university] were recently suspended when they discussed the Ram Mandir issue. It is clear that the university is seeing a political slant.”

When reached for comments, the Vice-Chancellor, Chief Proctor, and the Registrar did not respond.

‘Influencing voters’

Earlier in the day, DU’s Democratic Teachers’ Front issued a statement, saying 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 decision of voters. If this was not the case then this event could have been scheduled for a date after the Lok Sabha elections have been concluded”.

Another teachers’ collective, the Indian National Teachers Congress (INTEC), said it had decided to approach the Election Commission of India (EC) regarding the “MCC violation”. The university had on Thursday said that the objective of the ‘Viksit Bharat Run’ was to “bring awareness in the society to make Bharat a developed nation by 2047”.

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