Forced attendance notice politically motivated: sources on Dhruv Goyal talk row

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A day after Mumbai University issued a notice to Thakur College, sources dubbed it as an attempt to tarnish the image of BJP’s Mumbai-North Lok Sabha candidate Piyush Goyal. The controversy stems from an event that happened in Kandivali’s Thakur College on Saturday, where sources said Goyal’s son Dhruv merely encouraged young first-time voters to come out and exercise their franchise and said nothing political in nature.

Sources said the notice was issued at the behest of the opposition Shiv Sena (UBT) which had lodged a complaint with the University, claiming that attendance for the event was mandatory. Addressing the issue, Goyal had told the media that the sequence of events in the video had been doctored mischievously. “A frustrated and dejected party which is no longer loved by the people, and has no public acceptance is now resorting to false accusations and doctored videos,” he was reported as saying.

Sources further claimed that the question was posted first in the allegedly doctored video, after which Dhruv’s speech follows, which is not the order in which real events happened. They said Dhruv spoke first and the question was asked in the end. In his speech, Dhruv said that once Dakshin Mumbai (South Mumbai) used to be the epicentre of the city, after which the action slowly moved to BKC. In the future, he said, it will shift further to North Mumbai.

Concluding his interactive session, Dhruv urged the assembled students, who will all be first time voters, to consider and check the educational qualifications, background, deliverables and commitment of the candidate towards the society before deciding who to cast their vote for. It was after this event that the video went viral, fuelling controversy that students were forced to attend a political event. Goyal pointed out to the media that even in his reply to the student who raised the issue, Dhruv categorically stated that he was not aware of such a compulsion made on the students.

“I do not endorse such a thing. I was not aware of any such thing. I will speak to the principal. It should have not happened. If only 10 people come to listen, I would have the same energy,” he is seen as saying in the clip. Goyal was reported as lauding Dhruv for having the courage to apologise to the student if what he said was true and that he would take it up with the college management. He said this was way more commendable than some scions “who need to be tutored on what to speak”, or worse, other youth leaders “who are all talk and no work.”

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