Uproar in Delhi Assembly over BJP MLA`s comments
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Last Updated: Thursday, March 17, 2011, 23:27
New Delhi: Uproar and repeated adjournments marred the proceedings of Delhi Assembly on Thursday following BJP's allegations that Education Department often puts pressure on government-run schools to encourage students to adopt unfair means to perform well in exams, triggering a strong protest from the treasury benches.

The allegation by a BJP MLA during Question Hour snowballed into a major issue, prompting fierce verbal dual between ruling and opposition benches and leading to several adjournments of the House.

Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit termed the allegations as "most unfair" and said such a "sweeping statement" on the educational system of Delhi was totally "unacceptable".

"The Opposition BJP was most unfair to charge that teachers were deliberately encouraging students to cheating, students are cheating and that education directorate was misusing the teachers. I think to make these comments are against the people of the city," Dikshit said outside the House.

The issue was first raised by BJP MLA Malaram Garg during the Question Hour, who alleged that the Directorate of Education often put pressure on schools to improve pass percentage and even ask principals to allow students to "cheat" in the examination. Garg was supported by senior BJP leader Jagdish Mukhi and several other party MLAs.

Immediately, several Congress MLAs rose on their feets, protesting the allegation and instead accused the BJP MLA of insulting the entire teaching community of the city.

Amid the din, Speaker Yoganand Shastri asked Education Minister to conduct an inquiry into the allegations. However, Lovely told the Speaker that without having material evidence it would not be possible to conduct such probe.

Lovely said probe can be conducted if BJP MLAs give him specific complaints.

Unhappy over Lovely's comment, the BJP MLAs kept up their protest while several Congress legislatures also rose from their seats criticising the Opposition.

As repeated pleas by the speaker to pacify the MLAs did not fructify, the Speaker adjourned the House for 25 minutes.

When the House met again, the both ruling and opposition MLAs continued their verbal volley while speaker continued its efforts to pacify the MLAs.

Even as Speaker pleaded the ruling party to exercise restraint, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit objected to BJP's allegations that the "Government uses the teachers to improve the pass percentage" and slammed the opposition for baseless allegations.

Following her comments, the House again plunged into chaos with both the sides attacking each other while a visibly upset speaker again adjourned the House for another 20 minutes.

When the House met again, there was no improvement in the situation as Congress MLAs, particularly Mukesh Sharma, kept on attacking the BJP, forcing the speaker to say that "the ruling side should maintain order in the House."

Shastri even threatened Sharma that he would not hesitate to expel MLAs from ruling party from the house. However, despite the strong comments by the speaker, the pandemonium continued and House was again adjourned for 25 minutes.

When the House met again, the same scene continued and speaker adjourned the House for the day.

Leader of Opposition VK Malhotra later accused the ruling party of "disrespecting the speaker" and putting him into an embarrassing situation.

"They did not follow the Speaker's order. This is unprecedented. The speaker has to plead to the Congress MLAs to restore order in House. The Education Minister refused to comply with the Speaker's order when he asked Lovely to order an inquiry," Malhotra said.

"We never said teachers were involved in encouraging the students to cheat. We said the education department puts pressure on principals. They have politicised the entire issue. This is condemnable," he added.

Speaking to reporters later, Lovely slammed the BJP for "doing politics on such a sensitive issue" and said the board examinations are held under direct supervision of the Central Board of Secondary Education and the education directorate has a very limited role to play in it.

"This is extremely unfortunate that BJP has resorted to do politics over education. This is an insult to the entire teaching community. If there is specific complaint then I am ready to probe. But to make a sweeping statement against the entire system is quite unfortunate," he said.


First Published: Thursday, March 17, 2011, 23:27

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