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Circular asking students to attend Rahul Gandhi rally withdrawn

The Goa University Monday withdrew – within four hours of issuing it – a circular appealing to students to attend Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi’s student rally Tuesday after the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) student wing protested on the campus.

The circular, dated Jan 18, issued by GU registrar Dr M.M. Sangodkar at the request of the state youth Congress president Sankalp Amonkar, said: “Students of all post graduate departments at the university and in affiliated colleges may be requested to attend the interaction with Shri Rahul Gandhi.”

It was withdrawn within four hours of being issued, after members of the BJP’s students wing gheraoed (surrounded) the vice chancellor’s office.

“We have also issued orders that no political flags will be displayed at the rally Tuesday which is being held on the university football ground,” Sangodkar told reporters today after the agitation. Amonkar could not be contacted for comment.

GU’s controversial decision to allow its campus to be used for a political rally to be addressed by Rahul Gandhi at the behest of the Youth Congress had triggered a controversy in the state, with the students’ cell of the BJP claiming that it was an “attempt by the Congress to reduce Goa University to a political circus”.

“A university has no place for a mainstream political leader to address students. The GU is an apolitical entity,” Atmaram Barve, convenor of the BJP students’ cell told IANS, adding that a “surprise protest strategy” was in store for Gandhi, when he visits the campus.

Rahul Gandhi, who is on a countrywide tour to “gauge and understand the young minds of India”, is scheduled to have a one-hour interaction with students at the university’s football ground Tuesday afternoon. Afterwards, he will also address members of the state Congress unit and Youth Congress delegates.

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