Slamming the Centre on December 2 over the UGC asking universities and colleges to set up selfie points to highlight “transformative initiatives propelling India’s growth”, the Congress alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is leaving no stone unturned to save his “flailing image” in the run-up to next year’s Lok Sabha polls.
Derek O’Brien, Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader, also took a dig at the Centre, currently led by the BJP, in a post on X and said, “PM = Photo Mantri. Mr @narendramodi Did You Know, UGC has asked universities to set up ‘selfie points’ with your image in the background.”
Congress’ Jairam Ramesh shared a media report on X on the University Grants Commission (UGC) asking colleges and universities to set up selfie points and said, “Our selfie-obsessed and self-obsessed PM is so insecure in the run up to Lok Sabha polls that he’s leaving no stone unturned to save his flailing image.” He added, “First, it was the Army being asked to set up selfie points. Then, he asked IAS officers and other senior govt officials to take out ‘Rath Yatras’. Now, he has directed UGC to set up selfie points in all universities.”
Ramesh said further, “Earlier, he hijacked the Chandrayaan-III landing by appearing on the live feed. Before that, he pasted his face onto all COVID-19 vaccine certificates.” These are only a few examples, Ramesh added, that reflect the man’s “tremendous insecurities” and the “sickening sycophancy” around him.
The Congress leader said further, “At the fag end of 10 years, the people of India are frankly sick and tired of this obnoxious level of self-promotion surpassed only by North Korean dictators. The people will give a suitable answer very soon.”
Meanwhile, according to officials, the UGC has asked universities and colleges across the country to set up selfie points at strategic locations in the campus to raise awareness among youngsters about India’s achievements in various fields.
Additionally, the institutions can only put up the selfie points in accordance with the approved designs in 3D layouts shared by the Union Ministry of Education. “These selfie points will not only serve as a source of pride, but also enlighten every citizen about the transformative initiatives that have propelled India’s growth on the global stage. Students and visitors should be encouraged to capture and share these special moments on social media platforms, fostering a sense of collective pride,” UGC Secretary Manish Joshi has said.
“There is a unique opportunity to harness the energy and enthusiasm of the youth, moulding their minds with inspiration drawn from India’s progress in diverse fields,” says a letter from Joshi, sent to the vice-chancellors of all Indian universities and the principals of all the colleges on Friday.
The letter adds: “You are requested to encourage students and visitors to capture and share these special moments on social media platforms, fostering a sense of collective pride.”
The UGC has suggested a range of designs for the selfie points. Each design is dedicated to a particular theme, such as the internationalisation of education, unity in diversity, Smart India Hackathon, Indian knowledge system, multilingualism, and India’s rise in higher education, research and innovation.
Each selfie point should be established at a strategic place on the campus and have a 3D layout.
A faculty member at a top institution said the government was portraying every ordinary achievement as a spectacular one and attributing the credit to the Prime Minister.
“What is happening is full-blown propaganda to build a cult figure. The State is doing it using public institutions that have nothing to do with these activities,” he said.
“There is no provision in the law to enable the government or the UGC to ask academic institutions to promote such propaganda.”