Update: This post has been updated with a clarification from the UP government.
The Uttar Pradesh government clarified on Friday night that there was no plan to keep primary schools open on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's birthday on Sunday, 17 September.
"There is no proposal with the state government to keep primary schools open on Sunday, 17 September," said a tweet in Hindi from the UP government's official handle.
रविवार 17 सितम्बर, 2017 को प्रदेश के प्राथमिक विद्यालयों को खोले जाने का कोई प्रस्ताव राज्य सरकार के स्तर पर विचाराधीन नहीं है।— Government of UP (@UPGovt) September 8, 2017
This was in response to earlier reports that students will have to attend school on PM Modi's birthday.
The Times Of India had earlier reported that Uttar Pradesh's 1.60 lakh government primary schools will be kept open on Sunday, 17 September, with compulsory attendance for students, to celebrate PM Modi's birthday 67th birthday.
According to BJP spokesperson Chandra Mohan, the celebrations in the schools are warranted because Modi is an "inspiration for all."
"He is a perfect icon for children because he has led a life full of hardship and today he is the most powerful man in the world's largest democracy," TOI quoted him as saying.
The report said that as part of the celebrations, MLAs from the state will visit their adopted schools and create awareness about cleanliness, a cause considered close to Modi's heart.
The BJP has 311 of the 403 MLA's in the state's legislative assembly. Each MLA will visit one school and distribute sweets, talk about Modi's vision of a new India and promote the Swacch Bharat Abhiyan (SBA), reported Economic Times.
According to Anupma Jaiswal, UP's minister of state for basic education (independent charge), MLAs adopting and visiting schools will ensure community participation, which is important because Modi's dream of a clean India can only be fulfilled by creating awareness among kids. "This will be the best gift to the PM on his birthday," she said.
According to the ET report, 15 holidays have been cancelled this year alone in the state because children were unaware of whose birthday was being honoured with the holiday. "They all used to think it is another Sunday. This time we want to tell them about the PM and his vision," said Satish Mahana, UP's minister for industrial development.
To this end, the BJP recently held a Samanya Gyan Pratiyogita (general knowledge test) for all schools in the state. The test, taken by about 11 lakh students of the state largely tested children on their knowledge of RSS ideology, Modi government schemes, Hindu mythology and trivia about UP. Among the 100 questions in the test, students were asked to answer things like: 'When was the RSS founded?' 'What is the name of the great leader who founded the RSS?' 'What is the name of the scheme started by PM Modi to clean river Ganga?' 'Which is the place where Lord Rama spent most of his time in exile?', etc.
Another agenda of the MLAs' visit to the schools on Modi's birthday is to keep an eye on the facilities being provided in the schools for the kids, something UP's chief minister, Yogi Adityanath, and Modi, have stressed on in the past.
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