Controversy
“At a time when the Model Code of Conduct is in place...please immediately probe into how permission was granted for such an event,” the director wrote in an urgent notice.
Facebook/Rahul Gandhi

A day after Congress leader Rahul Gandhi addressed a gathering of young college students in Chennai, the Tamil Nadu Higher Education Department is probing into how permission was granted for an interaction of a political leader with students at a government aided college. Citing the Model Code of Conduct that came into place on March 10 Director of Tamil Nadu Higher Education Department wrote to her Joint Director to immediately look into how permission was granted.

Rahul Gandhi addressed students at the Stella Maris College of Arts and Science in Chennai on Wednesday as part of his campaign ahead of the Lok Sabha polls. On Thursday, in a notice marked ‘Very Urgent’, Higher Education Director Charumathi wrote to her joint director regarding the event, specifying that the college where it was held is a government aided institution.

Citing media reports, she wrote, “There are several media reports that a political leader participated in an interaction with students at Stella Maris College, Chennai-86, on 13.3.2019. At a time when the Model Code of Conduct is in place for the 2019 Parliamentary Elections, please immediately probe into how permission was granted for such an event and revert to this office.”

The morning college at Stella Maris is government aided, whereas the evening college is autonomous.

The notice comes a day after Rahul Gandhi’s speech at the college, which was televised live, and where hundreds of students had participated. Rahul Gandhi took questions from the students at the institute, and announced that if his party comes to power, they will bring in reservation for women in government jobs at all levels. To the all women audience, Rahul also remarked that Congress would pass the Women’s Reservation Bill to ensure more women are represented in the state legislatures and the Parliament.

Rahul’s visit to Chennai came ahead of the party’s public rally in Nagercoil. Flanked by key TNCC leaders including P Chidambaram, Khushbu, CR Kesavan, and KS Alagiri, Rahul addressed media later that day in the state’s capital before flying to Nagercoil for his public rally.