Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) seems to be slowly upping the ante against Congress over the hike in school fees in the Capital.
On Wednesday, senior BJP leaders, including leader of Opposition in the Delhi Assembly, VK Malhotra; the party’s Delhi unit president OP Kohli; six of its Lok Sabha candidates in the Capital and sitting MLAs met Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit at her residence and handed over a memorandum on the issue.
After the meeting, Malhotra said: “We told Sheila Dikshitji that every family in Delhi is affected by the hiked fees in schools. We have demanded that the Delhi government either immediately review its order or provide a subsidy so that parents are not forced to bear the burden of enhanced fees and arrears.”
Bereft of any major poll issue, almost all BJP candidates in the Capital have made the fee hike their main poll agenda.
“We will start an agitation across the city if the government does not give any subsidy. Parents have already started protesting. If the government does not relent, we will start a mass agitation,” said Ramesh Bidhuri, the party’s South Delhi candidate.
Chandni Chowk candidate Vijender Gupta said: “Did the public schools take the parents into confidence before hiking the fees? How can the government take a decision on such an important issue concerning lakhs of students arbitrarily?”
Dikshit, however, criticised the BJP for politicising the issue.
“The hike was necessitated to bring teachers’ salaries at par with salaries of government employees, following the implementation of the Sixth Pay Commission. Besides, the fees were hiked in February. Why has the BJP woken up now,” she asked.
On whether her government would provide a subsidy, Dikshit said: “The model code of conduct is in force. We can’t take any populist decision at this stage. But I have assured the BJP delegation that my government would look into the issue, and if there are complaints of high-handedness on the part of any school, required action will be taken.”