Bhavnagar: The principal of a women’s college in Gujarat’s Bhavnagar city has issued an order asking her students to become ‘page pramukhs‘ (electoral roll page in charge at booth level) of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
The local Congress unit decried the move and attacked the BJP for making use of such educational institutions to further their political goals, while the trust that runs the institution said she had resigned.
In an order dated June 24, Ranjanbala Gohil, the in-charge principal of Smt NC Gandhi and Smt BV Gandhi Mahila Arts and Commerce College in Bhavnagar, asked all students living within Bhavnagar civic limits to come with a passport size photograph and carry mobile phones to become ‘page pramukh‘ of the BJP.
“Every student should bring their passport size photo tomorrow to register as a page pramukh in the BJP party. Only students living within the limits of Bhavnagar Municipal Corporation can become members. In order to join the membership drive in the BJP party, every student needs to come to college tomorrow with a mobile phone,” the order said.
College trustee Dhiren Vaishnav said the order came to his notice on June 26, Sunday night, after which he immediately discussed it with fellow trustees and contacted Gohil.
“All institutes of Bhavnagar Stree Kelavani Mandal Trust focus on developmental and educational activities and do not associate themselves with any political programme. The in charge principal accepted her mistake and has told us she had no personal interest in getting students enrolled as BJP members,” Vaishnav said.
“There was no external or internal pressure on her to resign. But she requested the Trust to free her from her responsibilities and has resigned,” he added.
Meanwhile, Prakash Vaghani, chief of Bhavnagar city unit of the Congress, said, “The BJP talks about being the world’s largest political party. It is now clear how it became this big. This is not the only institute. There are many other institutes that work under the BJP, and the party controls them.”
Assembly polls will be held later this year and the BJP, which has ruled the state for 27 years, has embarked on a primary membership drive.