Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik to do a Modi on Children’s Day
Naveen Patnaik will address lakhs of school children and their parents through a televised speech on November 14.india Updated: Nov 07, 2017 16:33 IST
Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik will address lakhs of school children and their parents through a televised speech on Children’s Day on November 14, over three years after Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacted with students across the country on Teacher’s Day in a similar way.
This will be the first time that Patnaik would address more than 660,000 students in the state’s 62,000 schools in his 17-year tenure as the chief minister. He earlier attended a state-level event, Suravi, to mark Children’s Day but this year the scale of celebration is said to be grander and more direct.
The school and mass education department has asked the government and government-aided schools to make arrangements for the students to listen to Patnaik’s address between 11.15am and 12pm on Children’s Day.
Officials said headmasters and school management committee members will contact villagers who own televisions fitted with set-top box to facilitate watching of Patnaik’s speech in respective villages.
Meetings of the school management committee and parent-teachers’ association will be held in each school to ensure the presence of both students and parents when the chief minister’s speech is telecast. The status report on the attendance of the students will have to be submitted by school authorities by 3pm.
The school and mass education department has also suggested schools to conduct a debate and essay competition on various topics, including on Patnaik being awarded the best chief minister of the country two months ago.
Patnaik’s address comes at a time when his Biju Janata Dal (BJD) is increasingly worried over a resurgent Bharatiya Janata Party, now the main opposition party, mounting a steady attack on the government’s failures in several spheres.
Modi was criticised by opposition parties over his address on Teacher’s Day in 2014 and the Congress called the move as a case of self-propaganda. Patnaik is also facing similar criticism.
The debate topic “Proud Odisha: Our CM got best administrator award” suggested for students of Class 8 to 10 is being seen by opposition parties as a blatant attempt to politicise school education.
“No politician in the past has ever tried to politicise school education. But Naveen babu (Patnaik) is worried that the BJD base is eroding and that’s why this crude attempt to brainwash the minds of kids,” BJP spokesperson Sajjan Sharma said.
“The government is hardly bothered about the conditions of the school building, standard of education, and appointment of teachers but how to reap a political harvest from the education sector,” Sharma added.
BJD spokesperson Sasmit Patra, however, told the Hindustan Times that Patnaik’s address to the students is more out of his personal interest to leave a legacy and inspire the next generation “with his thought process”.
“After 17 years as the CM, he has nothing left to achieve ... The school children are surely not voting in the next election and so any allegations of politicisation are needless. The CM takes interest in children and likes to interact with children,” he said.