DU fake degree row: ABVP's Ankiv Baisoya says he studied several subjects

Ankiv Baisoya
Who: Ankiv Baisoya, 23, kept fidgeting with his hands as the mic was brought closer to his mouth. “Can you recall a few subjects you had studied during your undergraduate course?” the reporter from the news channel Aaj Tak had rephrased the question several times to make a point. Baisoya shifted his weight from one leg to the other and repeated his answer, “Several subjects including English, skill-based subjects and core theory.” It only got worse from there. He was then asked to name his head of department or any other teachers that he liked. Baisoya, who supposedly graduated two years ago from the Thiruvalluvar University in Vellore, Tamil Nadu, fired blanks. Baisoya is a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party-affiliated Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and the newly-elected president of the Delhi University Students’ Union.

What: Soon after the ABVP won three of the four key posts at the Delhi University elections, which were marred by vandalism and accusations of poll rigging, the Congress’ student body, the National Students’ Union of India, accused Baisoya of faking his Bachelor of Arts degree. It produced a letter from the Thiruvalluvar University signed by its controller of examinations. Despite the counter-claims of Baisoya and his colleagues at ABVP, many news organisations have spoken to the Thiruvalluvar University and independently confirmed the authenticity of the letter, which states that the copy of the certificate of the following candidate is verified and found to be “NOT GENUINE”, conspicuously in bold letters. “It is a FAKE CERTIFICATE,” it read.

Where: Delhi University polls this year have been a whirling controversy from the start. The tearing of posters and the episodes of violent show of strength by student organisations have become a trademark of these elections. This time, even the counting of votes was halted twice after a technical snag in the electronic voting machines. The accusations of poll rigging are being heard by the Delhi High Court. And for Baisoya, who is now at the centre of the controversy, the problems are only getting bigger. 

Why: There’s little defence coming from the trolls on this one. Attendance records of the College of Vocational Studies (CVS) are now being circulated over Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp groups, indicating that while Baisoya claims to be studying in Vellore, he was also enrolled as a student of CVS in Delhi. A report by digital media portal Newslaundry claims that a few teachers at CVS remember Baisoya because of his participation in students’ protests at the college.

The department of Buddhist studies at DU, where Baisoya is enrolled for his masters, says it will convene a meeting on Monday to discuss his case. ABVP has put the onus on 

Delhi University to verify Baisoya’s degree and is defending its leader. But there’s not a single word of support from its political masters.

Despite his shaky media interview, where he could not elaborate on the “several subjects” he had studied, Baisoya repeatedly said that his focus was on subjects that improve “skill”. Looking at the criticism on social media, his stress on the keyword is playing out as a cruel irony for the BJP.

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