Gujarat Navratri holiday: Why BJP government's decision is facing stiff opposition
Associations of private schools in Saurashtra and Surat have openly criticised the move and decided to defy the government order.
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Come Navratri and school and college students in Gujarat are going to have unhindered fun as the state government has announced a week-long holiday.
Navratri is a Hindu festival and in Gujarat it is generally celebrated with garba (a dance form), with large participation of the youths.
However, politics over the issue of holidays for Navratri is heating up.
Educational institutions, however, believe that Navratri holidays are unjustified because they are only an attempt to attract youth voters ahead of the 2019 general elections.
While many students are happy that they don't have to get up early morning to attend schools and colleges, but some of them believe that the holidays make no sense because garba is generally an evening event and is supposed to end by 12 midnight, which allows students to attend school.
They are seeing the move as a bid to please Hindu voters.
Despite flak, Gujarat education minister, Bhupendrasinh Chudasama, has refused to budge.
Chudasama said that a seven-day holiday is not going to lead to any significant loss for students in studies because these days would be deducted from the Diwali vacation of students.
Associations of private schools in Saurashtra and Surat have openly criticised the move and decided to defy the government order. At least 400 schools in Rajkot and 800 in Surat have decided to protest against the government's decision saying it would adversely impact studies.
Schools are arguing that in a year with 365 days, schools are open only for about 210 days. Teachers and students are also demanding semester exam before Navratri.
Coming out in support of private schools, the Congress has called BJP government's move nothing but vote-bank politics.
Leader of Opposition in the Assembly, Paresh Dhanani, said the BJP government is indulging in a cheap publicity gimmick at a time when cases of rape against women are rising in the state.
He said the BJP government, which is playing a politics of religion over Navratri, has leaders facing serious charges of sexual assault on women.