A government notice that was sent to private colleges in Indore demanding that they send 100 students each to attend the Prime Minister's rally in Mhow on 14 April has created a massive controversy. The rally is meant to commemorate the 125th birth anniversary of Dr B R Ambedkar, the father of the constitution.
State National Students Union of India president Vipin Wankhede said: "How could you call any citizen on a national holiday to attend any political function? It is a violation of the right to freedom of any India citizen. My question to BJP is: Do they fear a flop show before PM, which is why they have called students to attend the programme?"
Madhya Pradesh Congress spokesperson KK Mishra said: "The directive proves the PM's popularity has nosedived in the last 22 months and the party is not sure of drawing a big crowd and, therefore, forcing students to attend."
Should the directive be obeyed, there will be at least 35,000 students at the rally, says the Hindustan Times.
The order was dated 7 April and signed by Mohini Shrivastava, assistant commissioner (tribal welfare). It asked colleges to send 100 students each, wearing their uniforms, carrying their identity cards, and accompanied by teachers,and to arrange for their transport and meals.
According to RC Verma, additional director at the department of higher education (Indore division), the notice was only for NCC and NSS students from colleges in Mhow, and attendance was not mandatory.