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Bengal faces off with Centre over directive on Sardar Patel’s birth anniversary

Bengal’s education minister and Trinamool Congress secretary general, Partha Chatterjee said that state government will celebrate Sardar Patel’s birth anniversary in its own way and not according to the directive of the Union government.

india Updated: Oct 29, 2017 16:02 IST
Sumanta Ray Chaudhuri
Sumanta Ray Chaudhuri
Hindustan Times, Kolkata
West Bengal,Sardar Patel’s birth anniversary,Trinamool Congress
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee addresses a press conference at the State secretariat in Kolkata.(PTI File Photo)

The West Bengal government on Sunday thumbed its nose at the Centre, insisting that it will not follow the Union HRD ministry’s directive to all higher educational institutions of the country to conduct a unity run on Sardar Patel’s birth anniversary.

In the latest face off with the Centre, the West Bengal education department has directed higher educational institutions including colleges and universities under its control to ignore the central directive.

Bengal’s education minister and Trinamool Congress secretary general, Partha Chatterjee said that state government will celebrate Sardar Patel’s birth anniversary in its own way and not according to the directive of the Union government.

The HRD ministry had directed all higher education institutions of the country to conduct a unity run on October 31 to mark the birth anniversary of India’s first home minister. The educational institutions have also been directed to organize plays based on the theme “Nation Salutes Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel”, make video recording of the event and send the same to the University Grants Commission (UGC).

“The Union government has no right to enforce on us anything. Paying tribute or respect cannot be on the basis of any directive from anyone. We specially take objections to the directive on making video recording of the event and send the same to the UGC,” Chatterjee told HT.

The state government’s objection to the MHRD directive comes four days after chief minister Mamata Banerjee threw a direct challenge to the Centre for its directive to link mobile phones with Aadhar by announcing that she would not do it.

“Let them disconnect my mobile connection. But I will not link my mobile number with AADHAR card. I am not bound to disclose all my personal matters,” she had said on October 25 while addressing a core committee meeting of Trinamool Congress in Kolkata.

The tussle between the Centre and the Bengal government over education is nothing new. Last month, a similar controversy arose when Bengal government directed all state-run universities and colleges to ignore the UGC’s directive to educational institutions throughout the country to arrange for live telecast of Prime Minister Narenadra Modi’s speech on September 11 on the occasion of 125th anniversary of Swami Vivekananda’s speech at the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago.

In August, the Bengal education department asked the schools of the state to ignore a Union government directive to celebrate Independence Day as per a set format of MHRD.

First Published: Oct 29, 2017 16:02 IST