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Odisha: Congress student wing places Gandhi, Netaji photos on PM, CM banners

January 19, 2024

On Thursday, activists from the National Students’ Union of India (NSUI), the student wing of the Congress, took a distinctive form of protest by affixing photographs of revered figures such as Mahatma Gandhi, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, and social worker Gopabandhu Das onto the banners and posters featuring Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik at various college campuses in the state.

This unconventional demonstration by the NSUI stems from their opposition to the installation of “selfie points” showcasing the Prime Minister in various colleges and the Nua O’ fest organized by the Odisha government. As part of this fest, posters and banners of the Chief Minister have been prominently displayed across all higher educational institutions in the state.

Led by State President Yashir Nawaz, NSUI workers at Maharishi College of Natural Law affixed images of Mahatma Gandhi, Subhash Bose, and Gopabandhu Das onto the posters and banners of PM Modi and Chief Minister Patnaik. The protest extended to the college’s entrance gate, where activists burned posters of the political figures in question.

The NSUI alleges that as elections draw near, both the Central government and the BJD (Biju Janata Dal) administration have initiated various programs to garner support from college students. Yashir Nawaz contends that post-election, the authorities tend to forget about the welfare of the students.

Nawaz specifically points to the “Biju Yuva Vahini” program launched by the state government before the 2019 polls, which reportedly incurred a cost of Rs 450 crore. Despite this substantial investment, Nawaz claims that college students did not reap any benefits from the scheme.

Accusing the state of a collapsed education system, Nawaz states, “Teacher posts are lying vacant in government colleges and universities in Odisha. The students’ union polls were canceled, and the Centre discontinued scholarship schemes. Yet, both governments are preoccupied with adorning college campuses with posters in the lead-up to elections.”

This protest reflects the NSUI’s discontent with what they perceive as a lack of tangible benefits and support for students from government initiatives, especially during election seasons. The juxtaposition of revered figures on political banners serves as a symbolic gesture to convey their dissatisfaction with the perceived neglect of student welfare by political authorities.

Source: PTI

Also read: NSUI stages protest against DU advisory asking students to not hold agitations in premises

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