Gujarat college principal asks students to join BJP, resigns after backlash
Ahmedabad: A college principal in Gujarat’s Bhavnagar city resigned on Monday after a barrage of criticism over her written instructions to students last week to join the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
The college management distanced the institution from the principal’s June 24 instruction and announced her decision to quit.
All institutes of Bhavnagar Stree Kelavani Mandal Trust focus on developmental and educational activities and do not associate themselves with any political programme, said Dhiren Vaishnav, director of Bhavnagar’s Smt NC Gandhi BV Gandhi Mahila Arts Commerce College, also known as Bhavnagar’s mahila college .
In a notice to students on June 24, principal in-charge Rajanbala Gohil asked students to register as the page pramukh (electoral roll page in charge at booth level) of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) the following day.
“Every student should bring their passport size photo tomorrow to register as a page pramukh in the BJP party. Students residing within the limits of Bhavnagar Municipal Corporation can only participate and be 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 principal’s order in Gujarati said. HT has reviewed a copy of the order.
Gohil could not be reached for her comments.
The Congress and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) were quick to target the BJP and the principal.
“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,” said Prakash Vaghani, chief of Bhavnagar city unit of the Congress.
Gopal Italia, chief of Gujarat’s AAP unit, said the notice was an insult to the women students.
“Is this an educational institute or a factory for producing BJP workers? asked Italia.
Dhiren Vaishnav said the college trustees heard about the principal’s instructions on Sunday evening.
“The trustees of the college came to know about the incident last night. The principal is a very nice person and she told us that it was not done out of any personal interest. We called her today morning to discuss the issue but she put in her papers admitting that a mistake was made on her part,” Vaishnav said.
On the principal’s decision to resign, Vaishnav added that there was no external or internal pressure on Gohil to resign after her order emerged on social media and the decision to quit was hers alone.