The Directorate of Collegiate Education has sought a report Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s interaction with girls of Stella Maris College in Chennai on March 13 when he visited Tamil Nadu for election campaign.
Director R Sarumathi has sought a report from the joint director how permission was given to the college to host the event when the model code of conduct has come into force after the announcement of Lok Sabha elections.
The letter to the joint director however does not mention Rahul Gandhi’s name but cites media reports that “political leader” interacted with students that day.
Tamil Nadu Congress Committee president K S Alagiri has said the education department should forthwith withdraw the notice as the State chief electoral officer has said there is no violation.
Moreover, Rahul Gandhi took part in the event as an MP and not as Congress president and the meeting was held with the prior permission of chief electoral officer Satyabrata Sahoo, he has said in a statement.
In a similar case in January 2017 when a political meeting was sought to be held in a college ground in Manipur, the EC held it is allowed “provided the academic calendar of the institution is not affected”, the school or college has no objection and the sub-divisional officer has given prior permission.
What happened in Stella Maris College was not a public meeting, but an interaction with students which was hosted by the college itself.
The BJP is upset with it is evident from the reaction of a supporter at a TV debate that Rahul had chosen his constituency very well, meaning that it is a Christian institution.
It is one more instance of the ruling AIADMK going out of the way to please its ally.
Ironically, once the model code of conduct comes into effect, the State administration has little say and any action can be taken only by the State chief electoral officer.