The Madhya Pradesh government has suspended the principal of a government college who invited Congress MP Jyotiraditya Scindia to address a National Service Scheme (NSS) event on the college premises on Tuesday, holding that his conduct violated the civil services rules.
Dr B L Ahirwar, who took over as principal of Government Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi College two years ago, had written to Scindia on September 26, seeking assistance to the tune of Rs 7 lakh for buying books, furniture, water cooler and sports equipment for students, and also invited him to the college at Mungaoli in Ashoknagar district.
On Tuesday, when Scindia addressed the students, several Congress workers were present at the college.
In its suspension notice dated October 11, the higher education department said the NSS event had a party symbol in the backdrop. It also alleged that students were lured with money to vote for a political party.
The notice said that by getting involved in party politics, the principal had violated the Madhya Pradesh Civil Services Conduct Rules, 1965. Ahirwar was suspended with immediate effect and sent to a postgraduate college in Shahdol.
“I had called only the Member of Parliament, not others (Congress leaders and workers) who came with him. I have been made a scapegoat. Sometimes you are accused of not inviting people’s representatives to educational institutions. When you do, you are suspended without giving an opportunity to explain,’’ the 55-year-old told The Indian Express. He said in his 30-year career, he was never aligned with any political party.
Ahirwar claimed that the MP wanted to visit the college. When asked if he had invited any elected representatives during his five-year stint in a college in Bhind, he said he had not. He said he would present his side to the government, but pointed to the impending Assembly by-election for Mungaoli seat as a possible reason for the action against him.
Congress veteran Mahendra Singh Kalukheda, who represented the seat, died last month. The by-election is yet to be announced.
On his part, Scindia alleged that the suspension had exposed the BJP government’s anti-Dalit mindset. “Is inviting the Member of Parliament to a college in his constituency such a big crime to warrant suspension of the principal?’’ asked the Congress leader.
While addressing the function, Scindia sanctioned Rs 3 lakh to buy furniture, books and sports equipment. The Guna MP, in whose Lok Sabha constituency the area falls, also reportedly referred to the Vyapam scam.
State BJP chief Nandkumar Singh Chouhan accused Scindia of violating law and taking politics to the campus. He said the Congress was unnecessarily raking up the principal’s caste, knowing that it was a mistake to invite Scindia for a function and call it an NSS event.
It was in Guna and Mungaoli that Congress MP from Chhindwara Kamal Nath had endorsed the name of Scindia as the chief ministerial face in the Assembly elections slated for 2018-end. The two leaders had visited Mungaoli for a condolence meet to pay homage to Kalukheda.