The alliance partner saffronised education, while the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) now is on course to make it blue.
Under the leadership of cabinet minister Sikander Singh Maluka, a programme is on to teach Class-8 students in Punjab the Akali campaigns of Nanhi Chhaan and Shagun as social works for the uplift of women. After the library-books and science-kits scams last year, the state education department has made children again the instrument of pleasing its political masters.
The new chapter includes pictures in which chief minister Parkash Singh Badal is distributing Shagun (financial assistance for marriage) cheques, besides bicycles in schools under the Mai Bhago Scheme. "It's no violation of the model code of conduct for elections," said education minister Maluka, without a satisfactory answer to why the central schemes were excluded.
The Nanhi Chhaan (girl-child protection) mission of Bathinda parliamentarian Harsimrat Kaur Badal, gets special treatment in the fresh syllabus for the academic session 2014-15, revised almost a month before the parliamentary election on April 30. The CM's daughter-inlaw contests again from the same constituency.
WITH EC NOD
This Class-8 textbook with new visual content is being distributed free of cost in schools with the approval of the Election Commission of India. The book defines the objective as propagating recent social schemes.
Asked to explain, Maluka said the syllabus must be revised every year and there was no har m in throwing in brief introduction to the state-run social welfare schemes. "The students should have all this information," he said.
The fresh additions to social science chapter 30, "The contribution of the government in social area; and its effects", however, carry the schemes in not brief but full detail, with two photographs of the CM thrown in where one would suffice.
Reacting to it, Congress leader Brahm Mohindra said his party would move the ECI. "Under directions from the RSS (radical organisation Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh), the Bharatiya Janata Party had made changes to several history textbooks in the past," he said, "and now the Shiromani Akali Dal is following in the footsteps of its ruling-alliance partner in Punjab."