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New Delhi, Dec 12 : As elections to the Punjab Assembly near, the Aam aadmi Party (AAP) has intensified its attacks on the Congress government in the state.
Barely decade old, the AAP has taken on the century-old Indian National Congress, which won the 17th Lok Sabha elections with a majority in 2019. The Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party is focussing on two subjects — education and illegal sand mining — in its fight against the Congress.
It all started with Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia’s visit to a primary government school in Punjab’s Chakalan village followed by another visit to Makrauna Kalan — the village of Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi’s maternal grandfather in his Chamkaur Sahib Assembly seat.
There, Sisodia, who also holds the education portfolio in Delhi government saw the dilapidated condition of the schools and said that if the Punjab government deems itself to have the best education system then it is lying and messing up with the future of millions of children and thereby, that of the country’s.
Both he and Punjab Education Minister Pargat Singh indulged in a war of words over the issue with the former challenging the latter to present a list of 250 schools within 24 hours that have undergone major reforms in terms of good infrastructure, enhanced curriculum, teacher training programmes and showed improved results under the Congress regime.
“Punjab has the right to know the Congress party’s contribution in the field of education in the state in the last five years,” the AAP leader had said while releasing the list. The Punjab minister, on the other hand, failed to provide the list, giving the Delhi-based party a golden opportunity to show its mettle on the subject.
Since coming into power in Delhi in 2015, the AAP-led Delhi government has transformed the education system of the union territory. The pass percentage of the 2016 batch of grade 12 CBSE students under the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government was 85.9 per cent. In 2017, it improved to 88.2 per cent; it then leapt from 90.6 per cent in 2018 to 94.24 per cent in 2019 to 97.8 per cent in July 2020. In fact, the government school results in Delhi reported a surge of 5.9 per cent in comparison to the private schools in Delhi.
We achieved such a great result by improving school infrastructure, focusing on quality learning, investing in teachers by sending them for training to Cambridge University which opened their eyes to the global scale of teaching, involving parents in their child’s development journey and introducing curriculums that helped children look within themselves and to understand the world in a better way via Happiness, Business Blaster and Deshbhakti Curriculum,” Manish Sisodia told media repeatedly.
Earlier on November 27, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal reached Mohali where he met contractual teachers, who were protesting for the regularisation of their services and said, “When AAP forms government in Punjab, like Delhi, all the issues of the teachers here will also be resolved,” further alleging that both Akali Dal and Congress had 10 and eight years in government respectively, but neither did anything for the teachers.
The AAP national convener made eight promises to the teachers guaranteeing them of changing the future of Punjab with good governance. He promised them that once in power in the state all outsourcing and contractual teachers would be made permanent. He told them if the Channi government does not accept the demands of the striking teachers, then he (Kejriwal) will join them in their dharna. Kejriwal also promised them that a transparent transfer policy in Punjab will be implemented and non-teaching work burden will be taken off the teachers’ shoulders, all vacancies will be filled, teachers will be sent abroad for training, promotion policy will be introduced and cashless medical facilities to teachers and their families will be provided.
On December 4, AAP MLA, who is also the party Punjab Co-in-charge, Raghav Chadha alleged that illegal sand mining was being carried out in Chamkaur Sahib, Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi’s constituency under the former’s patronage.
He tweeted along with a live video of sand being mined illegally, “Illegal sand mining in Charanjit Singh Channi constituency has been exposed. It is the biggest expose which will shake Punjab’s politics.”
“We are in Jindapur village, which is in the chief minister’s constituency Chamkaur Sahib. Illegal sand mining is going on here openly. Sand is being illegally carried in trucks,” it added.
Chadha also wrote a letter to the forest officer on November 22. “Forest Range officer Rajwant Singh had informed Sub divisional Magistrate, Sri Chamkaur Sahib – about the illegal mining activities in CM Charanjit Channi’s constituency. There was no action on the sand mafia, but Rajwant Singh soon received transfer orders,” he tweeted.
Chadha on Friday said that the AAP will reward Rs 25,000 to the Punjab Chief Minister if he acts against every site where illegal sand mining is being done as he has complete information about the whereabouts of illegal mining in his state.
In response, Charanjit Singh Channi attacked Arvind Kejriwal by calling him a “power greedy outsider”, who wants to rule the state and accused him of misleading the people of Punjab. “AAP supremo has little knowledge about the state and he was groping in the dark for fulfilling his lust of power,” he added.
Channi had also retweeted a blurred letter in Gurumukhi on his Twitter account saying that AAP can spread as many lies as it wants, but people of Punjab know the truth.
Illegal sand mining has become a major political issue in Punjab along with the problem of liquor, and in view of this the Congress government recently introduced “Mission Clean”.
Earlier this year, a Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader too had captured the act of illegal sand mining in a Facebook live that showed trucks loading sand at the Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Plant. The opposition party had blamed Congress leader and State Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal and his brother-in-law Jaijeet Singh Johal of being involved in illegal sand mining.
Punjab is headed for the Assembly elections in early 2022. In 2017 Aam Aadmi Party emerged as the second-largest party winning 20 seats in the 117-member Punjab legislative Assembly.
IANS / AGENCY