Leaving no stone unturned to secure power in Punjab, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Tuesday promised to provide free education to children from the Scheduled Caste community, besides bearing their coaching fees for higher studies, if his Aam Aadmi Party is voted in. Punjab has nearly 32 per cent Dalit population.
Addressing a public gathering in Hoshiarpur, Kejriwal sought “one chance” for his party saying that Punjab had given many chances to the Congress and the Shiromani Akali Dal. Asserting that AAP stands shoulder to shoulder with the SC community, he said announced five “guarantees” for them.
“It will be the party’s responsibility to provide the best education free of charge to the children of the SC community if the AAP comes to power after the state assembly polls early next year. If a child belonging to the SC community wants coaching, like we did in Delhi, for engineering, medical education, railways, IAS or any exam, his or her entire fee will be borne by the government,” Kejriwal said.
If a child wishes to go abroad for pursuing graduation and post-graduation, the expenses will be borne by the state government, he said, adding that if any community member is suffering from a disease, then their medical expenses will also be borne by it.
“Baba Sahib (Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar) said that only good education can remove poverty and uplift the community but successive governments have ruined the education system in the state-run schools where children of SC community and poor class study. They deliberately kept this community uneducated so that it could not ask for its rights,” said Kejriwal while coining a slogan: “Baba Sahib tera sapna adhura, Kejriwal karega poora”.
“In Delhi, we have launched ‘Jai Bheem Yojna’ under which children of SC community get free coaching for any exam. Children from government schools are getting selected for engineering and medical courses after getting coaching under the scheme,” he said.
Taking on his Punjab counterpart, Kejriwal said Charanjit Singh Channi hails from the Ravidassia sect and “that is why he is asking the SC community to vote for him”. Kejriwal said that though he did not come from the community “but I come from your family”.
“If anybody from your family gets sick, I’ll get your treatment done by becoming your son. If tomorrow, your child wants to become an IAS officer, you and I will help make him an IAS officer. If your child wants a good education, then your elder brother will help you, Channi sahib will not help,” said the Delhi chief minister.
“He (Channi) is just playing politics of vote bank. He says ‘I am from the SC community and you are also from the same community, then vote for me’,” Kejriwal claimed.
Seeking to shun the “outsider” tag, the AAP leader told the gathering he was a part of their family and he wanted to build the future of Punjab.
He said both Channi and Education Minister Pargat Singh claimed that the state had the best schools in the country. “I respect Pargat Singh and Channi sahib,” he said asked the people whether they thought the state’s educational institutions were the best in India.
“There are several schools where there is no teacher or a single teacher. It means that they (the Congress government) do not have any intention to improve the condition of schools. They will keep them as it is,” he alleged, adding that the children of the SC community would not get good education in these schools. “It is Channi and Pargat Singh’s intention to keep the SC children backward, poor and illiterate”.
Attacking the Congress government, he claimed that Channi, after becoming the chief minister, had promised to give five marla plots to the people and lakhs had applied for them but not a single plot had been given so far.
He also slammed the Punjab chief minister over the promise of regularisation of contractual employees, alleging that not even a single person out of the 36,000 contractual employees had been given a permanent job.