Congress leader Kapil Sibal today took exception to Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacting with students at his annual "Pariksha Pe Charcha", saying that their time could have been better spent studying for the upcoming board examinations.
"I suggest that the PM leave students alone because this is the time to prepare for the boards. He shouldn't waste their time," the Congress leader told news agency ANI, hours after PM Modi spoke to students about ways to combat demotivation in the course of their studies.
Mr Sibal, who is also a senior lawyer, threw some criticism on the reluctance shown by certain BJP leaders in sharing their educational qualifications into the mix too. "The discussion should be held on 'openness' in degrees after it is obtained, it should be known to everyone. That's the 'Mann Ki Baat' he should do," he said, referring to PM Modi's monthly radio address to the people.
A few BJP leaders, including Union Minister Smriti Irani, have faced questions regarding their educational credentials over the years. PM Modi himself has come under criticism over his post graduate degree in Entire Political Science from Gujarat University.
In his discussion with students earlier today, PM Modi had cited the Chandrayaan moon landing setback as an example of why students should not shy away from trying to excel even if the outcome is unpredictable. "I was told that I should not attend the Chandrayaan landing as there was no guarantee of success. But I needed to be there," he said in response to a question posed by a Rajasthan student on "board exams putting their mood off".
Recounting how Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) scientists overcame their dismay despite the failed space operation, PM Modi said: "We can add enthusiasm to every aspect of life. A temporary setback doesn't mean success is not waiting. In fact, a setback may mean the best is yet to come."
PM Modi also drew a comparison between studies and cricket matches (the 2001 India-Australia Test in particular) to drive home his point. "Our cricket team was facing setbacks. The mood was not very good. But in those moments, can we ever forget what Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman did? They turned the match around... Similarly, who can forget Anil Kumble bowling with an injury? This is the power of motivation and positive thinking," he said.
(With inputs from ANI)