Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi gave a warm hug to a lady professor who had to face injustice in Gujarat for over 20 years
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday mocked Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘hugplomacy’ with US President Donald Trump after Pakistan released 2008 Mumbai attacks mastermind and Lashkar-e-Taiba chief Hafiz Saeed from house arrest. Upping his tweet war with Modi, Rahul Gandhi said that “more hugs were urgently needed” between PM Modi and US President Donald Trump as the terror mastermind is now free.
But in Gujarat, it was Rahul’s hugplomacy that has warmed hearts. A picture can tell a thousand words, it is said. And the picture of a weeping and emotional professor in the arms of Rahul Gandhi has made many sit up and think. Is Congress more warm than the BJP? While Modi hugs top leaders, Rahul hugs and consoles the common man.
The lady who won Rahul’s hug and comfort was Ranjana Avasthi, an ad hoc prof. She was deeply hurt and upset that she had never been paid full salary or got maternity leave despite being a PhD holder. Her only desire is to retire with respect. Her plight reveals the sorry plight of educators under the Gujarat model.
In an interview with Ahmedabad Mirror, she said she had been visiting Gandhinagar twice a week since1996. “It has been 21 long years of fruitlessness. I have met Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, Deputy CM Nitin Patel and education minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama. All they did was keep me waiting, time and again.
“I finally got tired. So when I heard that Rahul Gandhi, the vice-president of the Congress which is giving BJP a fight in this election, is speaking to teachers in Nikol, I knew I had to go.
“The anger and grief at being mistreated in this manner is what forced my outburst before Rahul Gandhi. His reaction stunned me, especially after being ignored by ministers and the government. This was the first time I met him and yet, when he hugged me, I felt as if a younger brother had deeply understood the agony that his sister has undergone. I am proud that I have such a brother now.
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Ranjana joined M B Patel Rashtrabhasha College in 1994. As there was no vacancy she was appointed as part-time professor of Sanskrit. She was hired following the process one initiates to hire a fulltimer.
For 10 years, she stayed a part-timer. Then in 2006, the government gave ads in the newspaper saying that parttimers will be made full time professors.
Though there are not more than 250-300 such professors, this was never fulfilled. And then last week, they dropped the fixed pay bomb on these professors. They will not get pension.
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“I have all the qualification needed to be a full-time professor. I am a guide at three places. I have written 10 books, written articles and conducted 15 seminars. Despite this, I am being forced to live on just Rs 12,000 pay.
“I want justice. I want a pension. I want assurance that I can live a life of respect when I retire. I want people everywhere to know about the sorry plight of teachers under the Gujarat model”.
Will Rahul Gandhi’s hugs and warmth win votes?
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