Union minister Upendra Kushwaha on Monday questioned Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s “Nalanda model” of education through which he said the Bihar government has recruited teachers a majority of whom cannot even properly count from 1 to 100.
Kushwaha, the Union minister of state for HRD, also announced that he would sit on fast on December 8 and 9 to press for allotment of land by the state government to open two Kendriya Vidyalayas — in Devkund in Aurangabad district and Nawada.
He said he would sit on fast on December 8 in Devkund and the next day in Nawada.
Kushwaha, the president of Rashtriya Lok Samata Party, an NDA ally, has now picked the issue of education to attack Kumar with whom he has been at loggerheads over sharing of seats in Bihar among National Democratic Alliance partners for 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
RLSP is holding a two-day brainstorming session in Valmikinagar in West Champaran district from Tuesday over the prevailing political situation in the state.
This would be followed by a public meeting in East Champaran district on December 6 in which Kushwaha said he would make a “big announcement”.
He criticised the JD(U), questioning Kumar’s governance in the field of education.
Kushwaha also slammed JD(U)’s attempt to contrast Bihar’s development in education sector on Sunday claiming the state had witnessed two models — Lalu Prasad’s “Charvaha (shepherd) Vidyalaya model and Kumar’s “Nalanda model”. Nalanda is the home district of Kumar.
“People of the state wants to know from the ruling JD(U) and the state government as what is the ‘Nalanda model’? Is it the same model which has recruited majority of teachers who even cannot properly count from 1 to 100,” Kushwaha quipped.
“Is it the same model in which teachers are compelled to move around from block headquarters to the apex court for getting their salary? Is it the same model which has turned ‘vidyalaya’ into ‘bhojnalaya’? Is it the same model in which students scoring zero out of 100 are declared toppers?” he said.
He said, “If this is the Nalanda model, it must be demolished in the interest of poor students of the state.”
Out of the 200 Kendriya Vidyalayas approved across the country, Bihar government sent only two proposals for Aurangabad and Nawada, he said, adding that the Centre approved both proposals but the state government did not provide land.
“The state government could not even fulfil the formalities of transferring land for opening KVs in two districts of Bihar and is now levelling allegations against me. In the interest of the people of the state, I, as a minister, will sit on a day-long fast on December 8 in Devkund in Aurangabad and again in Nawada to pressure the state government for allotment of land for the two KVs,” he said.
The RLSP chief said he would not make seat-sharing an issue if the Bihar government fulfils his 25-point charter of demands to improve education scenario in the state.
He did not speak on the BJP apparently giving a cold shoulder to his ultimatum to finalise seat-sharing by November 30.
The charter of demands includes appointment of school teachers through the Bihar Public Service Commission, re-evaluation of teaching staff appointed since 2003, exempting teachers from non-teaching work, making 75 per cent attendance mandatory, modernisation of madrasas and holding students union elections on time.
Stating that he would take “sanyas” (retirement) from politics if he is proved wrong on the issue of education, Kushwaha dared Kumar for a public debate on the issue.
The Union minister has raised a banner of revolt after BJP and JD(U) announced they would contest equal number of seats out of the total 40 seats in Bihar. They did not give any figures.
However, Kushwaha recently revealed that the BJP had offered him two seats, an offer he said his party rejected and demanded a “respectable” number of seats instead.
In 2014, the RLSP had won all three seats it had contested.