On Sunday, the day of the Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) rally at Baghapurana in Moga where party chief Arvind Kejriwal is to release a poll manifesto for farmers, district authorities in neighbouring Muktsar have called for all school buses to be off roads. The move was decried by AAP leaders, including Kejriwal, who saw in it a ploy to reduce the number of transport vehicles available to ferry people to the rally.
In a written order to private and unaided schools, Muktsar district education officer (DEO) Davinder Kumar Rajoria has directed their managements to keep school buses off road at any cost on Sunday, so as “to avoid any strict action”. The order says deputy commissioner Sumeet Jarangal will hold a meeting with the buses’ drivers at Red Cross Bhawan and the physical presence of the drivers is mandatory, at 11am. “School managements must ensure that the buses are not used for private transportation on Sunday. Special checking will be conducted for compliance of the order. If any school buses are found plying, they will be permanently impounded,” the order, an unsigned version of which was also doing the rounds online, says.
Sources told HT that the Moga district education department has issued similar orders orally, to attend a safety awareness seminar at a private school at 10am.
In Muktsar, Rajoria said the orders were issued on the directions of district transport authorities, who asked the department to inform school managements at the earliest. To a question about the AAP rally and the possible use of buses by the party to transport supporters, Rajoria said, “I am learning of the rally from you.”
But Kejriwal, and several other leaders of the party including state affairs in-charge Sanjay Singh, shared the orders’ unsigned version on Twitter. “Badals scared. Trying every dirty trick,” tweeted Kejriwal.