INDORE: A row has erupted after 200 private colleges here were directed by Madhya Pradesh government to send 100 "students" each to attend the rally of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Mhow on the occasion of birth anniversary of Dalit icon B R Ambedkar on April 14.
The order issued on April 7 has drawn the ire of opposition Congress which dubbed it as a "Tughlaqi diktat".
With the issue courting controversy, the Tribal Development Department, which had issued the directive, has come out with a fresh letter replacing the word "students" in the original order with "volunteers".
"On the occasion of Ambedkar's birth anniversary, the Prime Minister is going to address a rally at Mhow (birthplace of the dalit icon). Thus, you must send 100 students each by buses on your expenditure to the rally. Do send a teacher with bus," said the order issued by Tribal Development Department Assistant Commissioner Mohini Shrivastava.
With the controversy erupting, the district administration today sough to clarify the matter, saying the order has been "misinterpreted".
"The order has been wrongly interpreted. A large turnout is expected at the Prime Minister's rally so we have asked colleges to call NCC and NSS volunteers to help us in the management of the rally.
"For conducting major functions, we seek help of NCC and NSS volunteers as they are trained. Nothing more should be read into it," District Collector P Narhari said.
He said Shrivastava had already clarified on the issue by issuing a fresh letter, stating that instead of "students", the word in the earlier directive should be read as "volunteers".
Callign it a "Tughlaqi diktat", Congress said it is a clear indication that Modi's popularity is "on the wane" while the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) said the BJP regime is "not bothered about the future of young people.
"This is a Tughlaqi order which is issued at time when the students of colleges are writing their examinations. The order speaks of the fact that Modi's popularity has taken a knocking in last 22 months. The situation has come to such a pass that to gather crowds, students are being used," state unit Congress chief spokesman K K Mishra alleged.
State AAP convener Alok Agrawal said the directive proves that the ruling regime is not bothered about the future of young people.
"Modi came to power with tall claims but has failed to live up to the expectation of people," he claimed.