Union minister and RLSP president Upendra Kushwaha has come down heavily on Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar over his 'Nalanda model' of education saying state government has failed to meet the expectations of people.
Union minister and RLSP president Upendra Kushwaha has come down heavily on Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar over his ‘Nalanda model’ of education saying state government has failed to meet the expectations of people. Speaking to reporters on Monday, Kushwaha said that majority of the teachers recruited by government can’t count from 1 to 100 and announced that he will sit on fast on December 8 and 9 against poor policies of Kumar.
Kushwaha said that on December 8, he will sit on fast in Devkund (Aurangabad) and the next day in Nawada to press for allotment of land by the state government to open two Kendriya Vidyalayas.
“Th state has witnessed two models — Lalu Prasad’s ‘Charvaha (shepherd) Vidyalaya’ model and Kumar’s ‘Nalanda model’. People want 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 the majority of teachers who even cannot properly count from 1 to 100,” Kushwaha said.
“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 asked.
Kushwaha added that if this is the Nalanda model, it must be demolished in the interest of poor students of the state. Nalanda is the home district of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
Kushwaha is a Lok Sabha MP from Karakat. He has been at loggerheads with Kumar over sharing of seats in Bihar among NDA partners for 2019 Lok Sabha elections. He comes from Koeri community which traditionally votes with Kurmi community because of cultural affinity. The two castes comprise around 10% of state’s total population of 10 crore. Kushwaha was once considered close confidant of Kumar but parted his ways in 2013 and floated his own party after resigning from JD(U). He then allied with the BJP in the 2014 Lok Sabha poll when Kumar was out of the NDA. His RLSP won all three seats it had contested.
Kushwaha’s 25-point charter of demands
The RLSP chief also noted that he will not make seat-sharing an issue if the JD(U) government fulfils his 25-point charter of demands to improve education in the eastern state. Kushwaha’s charter of demands includes the appointment of school teachers through the Bihar Public Service Commission (BPSC), re-evaluation of teaching staff appointed since 2003, exempting teachers from non-teaching work, making 75% attendance mandatory, modernisation of madrasas and holding students union elections on time.
Further, Kushwaha, MoS for Human Resource Development, challenged Kumar for a public debate on the issue of education in Bihar saying he will retire from politics if he is proved wrong.
He also dared the BJP to dismiss him as a Union minister. Kushwaha said, “I am still a minister, will remain so till May. Only PM (Prime Minister Narendra Modi) can dismiss me.”
JD(U) mocks at Kushwaha’s charter of demands
Reacting to Kushwaha’s 25-point charter of demands, the JD(U) ridiculed him and wondered what he was doing all these years in his capacity as union minister.
“I thank him for his advice. The advice has come at the end of an innings when the mandatory overs are on. He won’t be able to get any extra funds from the Centre nor would he be in a position to get any projects cleared now. Had he come up with the advice of betterment of education earlier, it would have been better,” state Education minister Krishna Nandan Verma said.
Party spokesperson Neeraj Kumar said, “Bihar has been witness to two models of education. One was the Charvaha Vidyalaya of Lalu Prasad. The other is the model of Nitish Kumar, which has thrown up institutions such as IIT Patna, Nalanda University and Chanakya Law College. Kushwaha has made clear which model he stands for.”
Meanwhile, the RLSP is holding a two-day brainstorming session in Valmikinagar in West Champaran district from Tuesday over the prevailing political situation in Bihar. This will be followed by a public meeting in East Champaran district on December 6 where Kushwaha is expected to make a big announcement regarding his next political move. According to Kushwaha, the BJP had offered him 2 seats to contest for the general elections, an offer he said his party rejected and demanded a respectable number of seats instead.