HRD minister Kapil Sibal has sent two pieces of Aakash-2 tablet to Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi following latter's dig at the low cost gadget being elusive, according to reports.
In a letter along with the gift, Sibal requested the Gujarat chief minister to keep education out of politics. As part of election promise, Gujarat Congress has said it will give free tablets to students if voted to power.
"Education is a collaborative venture beyond the pale of politics and we need to work together in the best interests of the children of the country," Sibal was cited as saying in the letter.
Sibal explained that modifications were carried out on Aakash by IIT-Bombay and an improved version was now available.
"The modified version of Aakash is comparable in quality to products that are available in the market at over four times the proposed cost of Aakash i.e. Rs. 2,276. IIT-Bombay, in collaboration with others, has also developed a number of educational applications which will be pre-loaded on Aakash-2 before it is provided to educational institutions and to students," he wrote.
Sibal also told Modi that Aakash-2 represented the "progressive endeavour of our country to empower the aam aadmi".
He requested Modi to cooperate to "maintain the morale of the institutions which have collaborated in an initiative never before seen in the country".
Addressing students on Teachers' Day from Gandhinagar, Modi — punning on the word "aakash" — on Sept 5 had said, "The Aakash tablet promised by union minister Kapil Sibal is yet to arrive on earth."
"He (Sibal) had stated that the world's cheapest low-cost PC would be made available to students at Rs. 3,000. Mind you, it was not for free, you had to pay for it, but even after paying, no tablet PC has been delivered since its launch."
Sibal had retorted by saying that Modi may be rich in politics but is poor at heart.
"After receiving the tablet, Modi may think about taking back his statement," Sibal said when asked about the Gujarat chief miniser's remarks made on Wednesday.
Sibal said,"I am surprised at Narendrabhai's statement. This is such a venture that all over the world, it is being talked about but not so in Gujarat because we think about children 24x7.
"But in Modi's Gujarat what happened to the future of the children. He is maintaining silence since 2002... Modi may be rich in politics but is poor at heart. In the next five to seven years, each child will have the Aakash tablet."