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Degree Row: An Opportunity?

Posted in Featured, Uncategorized, View Point

Published on April 14, 2023 with No Comments

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has been continuously raking up the issue related to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s educational qualification and to make the matter tough AAP leaders Arvind Kejriwal has even questioned Prime Minister’s understanding of science, mathematics etc.

After Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was fined Rs 25,000 by Gujarat High Court he has lashed an all around attack on Prime Minister stressing the “necessity of higher education for the country’s Prime Minister for proper understanding of issues”. Daily, various leaders of AAP are holding  press conferences where they are showcasing their degrees. Even, his former Deputy Manish Sisodia, presently lodged in Tihar Jail in an excise policy case, wrote a letter on the same issue. The letter written in Hindi and tweeted by Kejriwal underlined that low educational qualification of the Prime Minister as a dangerous thing as it makes it “difficult for PM to grasp the concepts of science and importance of literacy”.

It’s not the first time that any political leader has questioned the Prime Minister’s educational qualifications.  Several Opposition leaders including the Congress ex MP Rahul Gandhi has also expressed doubts about Modi’s education.  The Prime Minister in his election affidavit has mentioned that he was a post graduate from Gujarat University (1983) while completing his graduation from a distance learning programme of Delhi University in 1978. The matter had long come to rest after the photographs of the degrees were posted from various Twitter handles and Facebook walls of BJP leaders before the 2019 General Elections.

There are apparently two reasons for asking Prime Minister Narendra Modi to show his degrees. The arrest of Manish Sisodia and  repeated denial of bail by the CBI court seem to have triggered a fury within Kejriwal. Also,Kejriwal was imposed a fine by a court for seeking information about the degree under the Right to Information Act.

Modi’s degree for master mentions that he holds master in “Entire Political Science.” The university is required to throw some light whether it ran a program in addition to master’s in political science. However, when the university was  directed by CIC to furnish the information, the university went to the court to seek a stay! Superficially, it’s trying to conceal some information. Font on the degree, handwritten versus computer printout are some of the other issues that the leaders are concerned about. However, no university professor –both from Delhi University and Gujarat University have claimed to have taught Prime Minister Narendra Modi. At the same time, none of the alumni has come forward to claim to be there in the university when Prime Minister Modi was there.

Kejriwal’s attack on the Prime Minister Modi last month from within the Delhi Assembly was as personal as one can get. From calling Modi “India’s least educated PM since independence” to accusing that “he is destroying the country”, Kejriwal did not mince words to attack the PM. Blaming the Central government for the arrests by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and casting aspersions on the neutrality of the courts is something that the victims have always done. Even if we take the Opposition’s claim that the Prime Minister is not “as literate” as some of them have had the privilege of, is it really a handicap in serving the people? Yes, education empowers and liberates. But then education cannot be weighed in terms of degrees alone.

Having clarity of thought, effective communication skills, knowledge, earning peoples trust are far important qualities of a leader than any college degree. And Modi has shown ample talent in all these departments. AAP should also consider the fact that some of the stalwarts of Indian politics like former Tamil Nadu Chief Ministers M Karunanidhi and Jayalalitha had also not had much formal education. Uma Bharati, former Union Minister and Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh had only studied till Class VI.

Kejriwal should realise that Prime Minister’s degree is not a matter of such grave national emergency after nine years of his tenure that a sitting Chief Minister should get obsessed about. He can find plenty of reasons to attack BJP on matters of policy and governance.

However, the most important reason for seeking information on his degree and finding something more than that meets the eye, can make Prime Minister Modi ineligible to contest for 7 years.  Arvind Kejriwal seems to be working on the same. However, he will have to acknowledge  that Prime Minister Modi is a champion in converting any adversity into an opportunity. He may ask his voters to reply back in the form for ballots for having being called an uneducated by Arvind Kejriwal.



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