‘Mumbai college students forced to listen to Piyush Goyal’s son speech’


The Opposition Nationalist Congress Party (SP) and Shiv Sena (UBT) on March 23 alleged students of a college in Mumbai’s Kandivali area were forced to listen to the speech of Dhruv Goyal, the son of Union Minister Piyush Goyal, who is the BJP’s Mumbai North Lok Sabha candidate.

Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Aaditya Thackeray alleged students’ IDs were confiscated to force them to attend the event where Goyal junior delivered the speech, while NCP(SP) MLA Awhad uploaded a video on X in which a student can be seen raising an objection.

Thakur College of Science and Commerce, post the controversy, said the event aimed to encourage students, particularly first-time voters, to participate in the upcoming general elections but added “the matter”, possibly a reference to students being forced to attend, was “under review”.

The college also accused Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Priyanka Chaturvedi of “disseminating a manipulated video pertaining to the interaction seemingly with political motivations”.

Mr. Thackeray, in his message on X, slammed the Union Government and said it was sending a message to the world that it does not wish the country remains a democracy anymore.

“Here, the IDs of the students were confiscated to force them to attend a talk by the son of a BJP candidate in North Mumbai a day before their exams. Because obviously even on passing, under this govt, where are the jobs? Rather waste their time on lectures taken by sons of candidates,” he said mocking the ruling party.

Will the principal be suspended for such a horrible act, Mr. Thackeray asked.

In a statement, Kandivali-based Thakur College of Science and Commerce principal C.T. Chakraborty said the institution hosted an event aimed at encouraging students, particularly first-time voters. to participate in the upcoming general elections.

She blamed Ms. Chaturvedi for the “manipulated video” of the event and alleged, “This led to an unwarranted controversy overshadowing what was otherwise a successful and well-received event”.

The engagement and dialogue with Dhruv Goyal were positively received by students, Ms. Chakraborty claimed in the statement.

“We wish to clarify that during the post-event interaction, a query was raised by a student on a topic that Dhruv Goyal was not previously acquainted with. The matter is under review by our institution,” the college principal said.

The college also posted a video of Dhruv Goyal apologising to the students saying it (taking IDs to get them to attend the event) won’t happen again.

Mr. Awhad said he would help students in every way if they are harassed by college authorities over this episode.

“When students protest, revolution begins,” the NCP (SP) MLA added.

Meanwhile, Ms. Chaturvedi called the college’s allegation against her laughable.

In a statement, she said the college had organised an event on their campus ostensibly under the garb of ‘voter awareness campaign’ and had invited Dhruv Goyal, son of Union Minister Piyush Goyal who also happens to be the candidate from that constituency, to speak to the students.

A voter awareness campaign cannot have the presence of only one candidate’s family member, the Shiv Sena (UBT) leader pointed out.

The students objected to being made to compulsorily attend the event so they shared a video on various social media handles, Ms. Chaturvedi said, adding it was widely reported in the media that their ID cards were taken away to ensure participation.

“They (students) also mentioned they had an exam the next day, which clearly the host of the event is heard stating. I shared a video which was widely shared by media. However Thakur College has accused me of manipulating the video, which is laughable,” she said.

Ms. Chaturvedi wrote to the college that the video she tweeted was from a news handle and not manipulated.

“You have raised a serious charge against me and I can file a defamation (suit) against your institution,” she warned and sought an apology.

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