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Bengal Turns Down UGC Directive Asking Colleges to Celebrate Sardar Patel’s Birth Anniversary

Recently, UGC Secretary, Rajnish Jain issued a circular which asked university teachers, students to observe ‘Rashtriya Ekta Diwas’.

Sujit Nath | News18

Updated:October 24, 2018, 7:46 PM IST
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Bengal Turns Down UGC Directive Asking Colleges to Celebrate Sardar Patel’s Birth Anniversary
File photo West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee
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Kolkata: The West Bengal government has refused to comply with University Grants Commission’s (UGC) directive to observe ‘Rashtriya Ekta Diwas’ (National Unity Day) on October 31, to commemorate the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel at colleges and universities.

The state education minister Partha Chatterjee alleged that the Central government is trying to give the occasion a political colour.

“They (UGC) are trying to impose their decision, which we will never accept. They did this in past and again they are doing this by keeping the state government in dark before taking such decision. This is one sided decision and not acceptable to us,” he told a TV channel.

Countering Chatterjee’s allegations, Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh called TMC’s decision unfortunate.

“It is our duty to take Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s freedom struggle to the masses especially the students. The directive issued by the UGC has nothing to do with the politics. It is unfortunate that TMC sees politics in every decision taken by the Central government.”

Recently, UGC Secretary, Rajnish Jain issued a circular which asked university teachers, students to observe ‘Rashtriya Ekta Diwas’. The circular also suggested that pledge taking ceremony and other competitions be organised to mark the occasion.

This is not for the first time that the West Bengal government has opposed the directives of the UGC or MHRD.

Mamata also opted out of ‘Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat’ programme which was launched by PM Modi on October 31, 2016 to promote engagement amongst the people of State/UTs in the country. An MHRD official had then said that West Bengal was the only state which had showed no interest in the programme.

In May 2017, Mamata – in a veiled attack on PM Modi’s ‘Maan Ki Baat’ – pulled up authorities of a private girl’s school in Kolkata, for playing the weekly radio prrogramme for students.
| Edited by: Padmaja Venkataraman
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