AAP leader and Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Tuesday hit out at the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh over the issues of education, health, water and electricity and claimed that while his government in Delhi is doing better on all the four counts, the situation is worsening in UP under the Yogi Adityanath-led government.
Sisodia was in Lucknow on Tuesday, days after AAP chief and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced that his party would contest the UP Assembly elections that are due in two years.
In a dramatic manner, Sisodia used an empty chair as a prop to invite UP minister Sidharth Nath Singh for an open debate on “State of Education: Kejriwal’s Delhi Model versus Yogi’s UP Model” at Gandhi Bhawan in Kaiserbagh area of Lucknow.
“I will wait for Sidharth Nath Singh and I am sure he will come forward for the debate… I will be happy to hear from the BJP leaders of Uttar Pradesh about the state of education, health, electricity in the state for the first time,” Sisodia told mediapersons.
Last week, UP Education Minister Satish Dwivedi had invited Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Sisodia to visit government schools in the state, and claimed that AAP leaders had made a “folly” of comparing UP, which has over 1.59 lakh government schools, with Delhi that has only 1,024 state government-run schools.
“We are ready for an open debate. It is good to see the ministers in Uttar Pradesh uttering words like education, health, electricity and water for the first time. It feels good that for the first time in the last 70 years, these issues are being discussed in UP politics,” said Sisodia.
After a while, Sisodia and AAP Rajya Sabha member and party’s UP in-charge Sanjay Singh addressed a press conference where they hit out at the Adityanath government.
“In the last five years, since the BJP came to power in Uttar Pradesh, the people of the state are asking what they got. In Delhi, where people chose Kejriwal five years ago, the government schools became better, but here the situation is terrible. In Delhi, students of government schools are outperforming. In Delhi, private schools have been not been allowed to increase their fees. Here in UP, the fees in private schools have increased manifold. In Delhi, 80 per cent people are getting free electricity,” Sisodia said as he played two videos on the education reforms in Delhi government schools.
Replying to an earlier point raised by the UP government that the state has more students in schools than the entire population of Delhi, he said it shows that Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath accepts that in last four years the BJP government did nothing for the people in UP. He also claimed that while the “entire Opposition is sleeping in Uttar Pradesh”, the AAP is the only party, which is raising voice on crucial issues.
Sisodia and Singh then left the venue to visit a few government schools in the state Capital but their convoy was stopped near Rae Bareli road. Sisodia said that UP Police cannot stop him from moving in Lucknow. With #DarrGayaYogi hashtag, Sisodia posted several tweets, including a video of his conversation with Lucknow Police Commissioner D K Thakur. In the video, Sisodia is heard asking the officer if he was a criminal and said that he was going to visit a school “on the invitation of the UP Education minister”.
Lucknow Police Commissioner Thakur later told The Indian Express that AAP did not take prior permission for their party leaders’ visit to a school.
“He (Sisodia) is a Deputy CM and wherever he goes, a detailed programme is released and they have to get permission. We were informed about the event in Gandhi Bhawan and the same was allowed… After the event, without informing anyone, Sisodia secretly left to inspect some school in Utrethia area. When I came to know, I asked my officials to stop them as they haven’t taken permission in advance,” Thakur said.
Meanwhile, Delhi BJP leader Kapil Mishra accused Sisodia of lying, claiming that Delhi is undergoing an “advertising revolution” and not “education revolution” as claimed by the AAP government.
In a ten-point questionnaire on Delhi education model, Mishra asked why the number of students leaving government schools for private ones have increased in Delhi, and why the number of students in board exams has decreased. He also claimed that Rs 2,000 crore from the 2017-18 education budget has not been spent and 70 per cent of schools in Delhi do not have principals. In a tweet, Mishra also challenged Sisodia for an open debate over education and health system in the national Capital.
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