Lokmanya Tilak's grandson misusing varsity resources for political gain?
Deepak Tilak, vice-chancellor of Pune's Tilak Maharashtra Vidyapeeth, has allegedly directed over 200 teaching, non-teaching staff to be part of his son, Congress's Kasba candidate Rohit's road show today
In a blatant misuse of public resources for political gain, at least 200 teaching and non-teaching staff from the Tilak Maharashtra Vidyapeeth (TMV), a public-funded university established on the directions of Mahatma Gandhi in 1921, a year after the demise of Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak, have been summoned by university vice-chancellor Deepak Tilak to participate in his son Rohit’s road show on Monday.
Rohit Tilak at a rally yesterday and (below) the university campus in Mukundnagar. Pics/Shashank Sane
Rohit Tilak, who is the great grandson of Lokmanya Tilak, is contesting the assembly elections from Kasba constituency in Pune on a Congress ticket. According to highly placed sources, the vice-chancellor has specifically conveyed his ‘message’ to staffers who are working in non-grant sections on a contractual basis and have no option but to actively participate in Rohit’s campaign if they want to save their jobs after their yearly contracts expire.
“TMV has two campuses — one in Mukundnagar and another in Sadashiv Peth. Staff members working in both these campuses received messages to be present at Kesarivada in Narayan Peth on Monday morning. From there, they will be assigned to be a part of Rohit’s road shows and padyatras,” said a senior staff member from the university.
“Our institution is a reputed deemed university, and if our VC indulges in such practices, it will ruin TMV’s image. At least 50 peons from the varsity have participated in Rohit’s election campaign in the last fortnight, and now, they have made it mandatory for even teachers and clerks,” he added.
‘Didn’t call anybody’
Speaking to mid-day, Rohit Tilak said, “Some of my friends (in TMV) are going to participate in my two-wheeler rally on Monday. But, besides that, no one has been specifically asked to come for my campaign.”
.When we informed him that we have specific information given by teaching and non-teaching staff, he said, “We have not called any teachers. Some of them, who reside in my constituency, may participate on their own. If you see my rally, most of my supporters are youngsters, who have been associated with me since my Youth Congress days.”
Rohit, however, confirmed that the road show will commence at 10 am today, which is the time at which all the teaching and non-teaching staff have been asked to report, as per this paper’s sources.
TMV Vice-Chancellor and Rohit’s father, Deepak Tilak, said, “We have not called any of our staff for Rohit’s rally. If I wanted to do so, I should have declared a holiday in the university, which is not the case. The university will function as per its schedule. Rather, being a VC, I am fulfilling all my duties and ensuring my attendance in campus.”
When we told Deepak what the staff members had said, he added, “Since Lokmanya’s days, we have had a special bond with some of the villages situated near Sinhagad fort. Those villagers do participate in our campaigns. As far as
our staff members are concerned, work at the university gets over at 5.30 pm, and some of them may voluntarily participate in the campaign. We have not made it mandatory for anyone.”
The TMV has many Class IV employees from villages near Sinhagad fort and, according to sources, all these employees have been participating in Rohit’s campaign from the first day.