New Delhi: The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has launched a “show your degree” campaign and challenged BJP leaders to do the same. AAP MLA and Delhi Education Minister Atishi announced the campaign a week after the Gujarat High Court imposed a fine of ₹ 25,000 on Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for seeking details of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s degrees when the details were already in the public domain.
“We are starting a campaign today. Your leaders will show their degree everyday to you. I have a BA degree from Delhi University and two Master’s degree from Oxford. All of them are original,” Atishi told reporters in Delhi today.
“I want to ask all leaders to show their degrees, especially BJP leaders,” she said, adding AAP leaders will show their degree as part of the campaign.
The recent high court order added to the controversy over the AAP’s aggressive campaign highlighting PM Modi’s education. The party had put up posters in many cities targeting PM Modi.
In 2016, responding to Mr Kejriwal’s Right to Information (RTI) request for details on PM Modi’s education details, the then Central Information Commission M Sridhar Acharyulu told the Prime Minister’s Office, Gujarat University and Delhi University to give details about PM Modi’s graduation and postgraduation degrees.
The Gujarat University put up PM Modi’s degree on its website immediately, but at the same time, challenged the Information Commission’s order as a matter of principle.
The ruling BJP shared copies of what it said were PM Modi's degrees - a BA from Delhi University and MA in Political Science from Gujarat University. Mr Kejriwal had claimed there were "glaring discrepancies" in the documents.
In the Gujarat High Court, the government’s lawyer Tushar Mehta said the two universities should not be compelled to disclose the information. “In a democracy, there won’t be a difference if a person holding the office is a doctorate or an illiterate. Also, there is no public interest involved in this issue. Even his privacy is affected,” the top government lawyer said, insisting that the information on PM Modi’s degrees had no bearing on his role.
Mr Kejriwal’s lawyer countered that election nomination forms listed educational qualifications and it was a legitimate thing to ask. “We are asking for a degree certificate, not his mark sheet,” said Percy Kavina, the AAP’s lawyer, in the Gujarat High Court.