A private pen manufacturer Today's has distributed pens to Class X and XII students who are appearing for their board exams. The move has created a big controversy in Gujarat as the pens have an inscription 'I Love Modi' on it.
This move by Today's has been seen as a bid to attract young minds towards the BJP and Prime Minister. The pens were distributed among students before the board exams began on the 8th of March.
Report from the school principals:
Some school principals in Ahmedabad told media that they had received packets containing NAMO pens. The principals also mentioned that the pens came with a covering letter which mentioned that these pens were to be distributed among students as gift for which an approval from the Chairman of Gujarat Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Board (GSHSEB) R J Shah and Deputy Chairman R R Thakkar has already been obtained.
Protests against politicisation of exams:
Opposition party Congress has protested against the politicisation of exams. School authorities too seemed unhappy with it. One Principal of Ahmedabad-based school mentioned that such politicisation of exams has never been allowed in the past.
Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi lamented that instead of filling up 50,000 vacant posts of teachers in schools, BJP was allowing politicisation of education. He was also unhappy with the education board for allowing such kind of politicisation.
Board authorities say:
Gujarat state education board authorities however denied that they had given permission to Today's for distributing such pens. R R Thakkar was quoted to have said that, "The pen company had approached us some five months back with the proposal but we had refused since it involved the use of a political party's symbol".
Version of Today's:
Suresh Zaveri, head of the promotional activities of 'Todays' pens in Gujarat, informed that the company had distributed 1.50 lakh pens with 'I love Modi' message. The pens were distributed in Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar and Vadnagar.
He further informed that the company had come up with this idea three years back when Mr. Modi was Chief Minister of Gujarat. Mr. Modi had liked the idea when he was shown the samples of the pen.
Mr. Modi had then given his permission to distribute the pens and the company officials had then met Education Minister of the state Bhupendrasinh Chudasma, the Gujarat Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Board (GSHSEB) chairman A J Shah, and also deputy chairman R R Thakakar before distributing the pens.
Mr. Zaveri further added that Gujarat education board office bearers provided the company with a list of school where the pens can be distributed. When asked why the pens that were distributed had the BJP's symbol he said that pens distributed must be some leftovers
Promoter of the company Rajesh Drolia has made no comment on the controversy.
Today's has been selling such NAMO gift sets for Rs. 299 on online market place
Support for BJP and PM:
Few took to Twitter to support BJP and Prime Minister. Take a look at few interesting tweets.
Congress named various universities on their ancestors,in Gujrat sm1 is distributing "namopen" den de are intolerant.#Intolerance— Azad Bharat (@havefunUfcuk) March 31, 2016
I wanna "#NAMO" pen as Ahmedabad's ( Gujrat ) students....— rahul gupta (@rahulguptajune6) March 31, 2016
( I love MODI )😍
Some tweets were witty too:
@gsurya Instead of writing answers, students will write Mann Ki baat with NaMo pen. :)— Bemused (@make_itpossible) March 31, 2016