Dehradun: With an eye on the Lok Sabha polls, the cabinet decision to rename Doon University to Mahirishi Valmiki University has backfired on the Harish Rawat government. The students of the university are against the decision and with each passing day, the support for the students is growing.
The dream project of the erstwhile Congress chief minister ND Tiwari, Doon University was set up in Dehradun on the lines of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). However, even before Doon University could stand on its feet, politics seems to have taken the front row.
The university situated in Kedarpuram area of the state capital falls in the Haridwar parliamentary constituency. The incumbent chief minister presently represents the seat. There is buzz in the power corridors that someone from the family of chief minister Harish Rawat could contest the polls from Haridwar.
The Haridwar seat has a sizeable number of dalit and minority voters. The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) enjoys significant base among schedule caste voters, with three MLAs from Haridwar.
The cabinet decision to rename the university on the name of Mahirishi Valmiki is seen as an attempt to appease dalit voters —which have, by and large, drifted away from the Congress in Haridwar.
The students say they are not opposed to Mahirishi Valmiki but renaming the university will kill the brand of the varsity.The move will hardly help Congress in polls, say students, adding that if required they will raise the issue during polls as well. Meanwhile, sensing the mood, the CM assured students that only a block will be renamed after Valmiki, but that failed to pacify the agitated students.
Interestingly, the BJP, which usually speaks on every issue, has stayed away from the controversial topic. In fact, renaming buildings and institutions for political gains is not new in the state. It started when Congress was in power between 2002 and 2007, followed by the BJP government. The Congress government renamed five Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Navodaya schools as Rajiv Gandhi Navodaya School. The forest hospital in Haldwani was named after Sushila Tewari, the wife of ND Tiwari. Later, the BJP government renamed the Coronation Hospital in the capital to Deen Dayal Upadhyay.