Uproar in Delhi Assembly over BJP MLA`s comments

Repeated adjournments marred the proceedings of Delhi Assembly following BJP`s allegations that Education Dept often puts pressure on govt-run schools to encourage students to adopt unfair means to perform well in exams.

Updated: Mar 17, 2011, 23:27 PM IST

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

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

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

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

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

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.