The Congress-led government in Madhya Pradesh on Monday suspended a Sanskrit lecturer of Vikram University, Ujjain, on disciplinary grounds days after he predicted a big victory for the BJP in the ongoing Lok Sabha elections.
The Higher Education Department of the state government recommended disciplinary action under MP Universities Act, 1973.
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The lecturer, Rajeshwar Shastri Musalgaonkar, had made the forecast based on astrology and posted in on Facebook on April 29: “BJP 300 ke paas aur NDA 300 ke paar (BJP near 300 seats and NDA more than 300).”
Stating that he is politically neutral, Musalgaonkar told The Indian Express that his prediction was not intended to benefit any political party and was only a response to a student’s query.
An Ujjain-based Youth Congress worker filed a written complaint with the district returning officer, arguing that the prediction by a government employee in support of a particular party is violation of the Model Code of Conduct and, therefore, punishable under the MP Civil Services (Conduct) Rules.
The district returning officer recommended suspension and wrote to the divisional commissioner. On May 7, Musalgaonkar was placed under suspension and attached to another department.
Musalgaonkar, 55, Head of the Department of Sanskrit-Ved-Jyotirvigyan, told The Indian Express that astrology is a science of possibilities and he made the prediction in response to a query by a student. He said he was analysing the current political scenario and predicting impact of planets on various political parties. He claimed that a student posted the comment on Facebook using his phone without his knowledge. “The moment someone brought the post to my knowledge I deleted it and apologised for it,” he said.
He also said that he was not given an opportunity to present his case properly and will move the High Court against the suspension order.
State Youth Congress secretary Babloo Khinchi, the complainant, said Musalgaonkar had made the prediction on April 29, the first phase of polling in the state. He said a BJP worker tweeted the prediction to influence voting.