GUWAHATI: The BJP led Assam government’s decision to name educational institutions after Jana Sangh leader Deen Dayal Upadhyaya has drawn strong opposition from different segments in the state..

Five colleges — all named Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya Adarsh Mahavidyalaya — have started taking admissions, and will be operational from September this year.

State Education Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has also announced that seven more such colleges will be set up in the next few years.

Students’ bodies like All Assam Students’ Union (AASU), one of the most influential students’ organizations of the region, Asam Sahitya Sabha (ASS), apex literary body, Krishak Multi Sangram Samity (KMSS), also an influential peasants’ body of the state have all opposed the move of the state government.

Instead, they said, educational institutions should be named after local prominent personalities.

“This is absolutely uncalled for. We can accept only one college to be named after Deen Dayal Upadhyaya. But all the colleges should not be named after him. There is no contribution of Deen Dayal to our state. We have plenty of prominent personalities with immense contribution for social causes,” said AASU advisor Samujjal Bhattacharyya.

Akhil Gogoi, advisor of KMSS, said that it’s a conspiracy to bring Hindutva in Assam. He also dared Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal to make public the contribution of Deen Dayal Upadhayay towards Assam.

“This is unfortunate. I think it’s a conspiracy to impose Hindutva on us by naming our colleges after Deen Dayal. The people of Assam don’t know who Deen Dayal was. I want to ask our CM what is his contribution to Assam,” Gogoi told media.

Gogoi said that the Jana Sangh founder was not a philosopher.

Assam unit of SFI has also spoken out against the government move. Secretary Nirangkush Nath said that it’s a conspiracy to propagate RSS ideology in Assam.

“We cannot accept this at any cost. There is no logic to name these colleges after only one person and that too who doesn’t have any connection to the people of the state. Had they named the colleges after Atal Bihari Vajpayee, we wouldn’t have minded that. But Deen Dayal Upadhaya can’t be accepted,” Nath said.

He said that the BJP government is being infected with the same 'Congressi Culture'. “Instead they should concentrate on providing quality education,” added Nath.

ASS president Dhrubajyoti Borah said that there are scholars with immense contribution to the society like Srimanta Sankardev and Damodardev among others and colleges can be named after these social reformers.

Individuals have also questioned the decision of naming institutes after the RSS leader. Senior journalist Anirban Roy tweeted asking who Deen Dayal was and what was his contribution to Assam.

Earlier, a road in Guwahati was renamed after Deen Dayal Upadhyaya which was also opposed by many. “This government came to power promising to bring development and other reformations but they are now into naming roads and education institutes. We would appreciate the government if they focus at making the roads better than renaming it,” said Bhaskar Kalita, a student of Gauhati University.