With Bharatiya Janata Party President Amit Shah out for a three-day tour to Rohatak in Haryana, several private schools in the district have announced Wednesday as a holiday, as their school buses were kept busy for the rally to welcome the saffron party’s national chief. Even as rules clearly restrict the use of school buses for political rallies to welcome party leaders, the state government evidently stays ignorant of the rulebook.
Stating that forcing management to provide buses for rallies is against the statutory provisions of the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988, State Additional Chief Secretary (home) Ram Niwas, earlier this year, moved to court and in an affidavit to the Punjab and Haryana court pleaded for the implementation of the ban.
Sending text messages to the parents of the students a night before the rally, many school authorities cited traffic jams as the reason for closure, while others said that the school buses will be deputed for the BJP President’s rally, as instructed by the district administration. As reported by the Hindustan Times, the Director of one such school said that reason for declaring Wednesday a holiday was because several schools have received instructions from the administration to supply school buses for the saffron party rally. Some of the private school bodies have even moved court complaining disturbances caused to the students’ studies because of the closure and condemned the government for violating guidelines.
BJP President Amit Shah had arrived Rohtak, the stronghold of former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, on Wednesday. Interestingly, Rohtak, which had witnessed violent protest during the Jat quota stir, is the only Lok Sabha seat among the 10 in Haryana, to be ruled by Congress under the leadership of Hooda’s son Deepender Hooda.
by Priyam Mukhopadhyay