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Why hue and cry on madarsa I-Day order: Deputy chief minister Uttar Pradesh

“The government had nothing to do with the order. It was taken by the Madarsa Parishad, a body set up by the previous government. I fail to understand why such outcry over video recording in madarsas? Similar videography was done in Sanskrit schools and RSS-run Saraswati Shishu Mandirs..”

lucknow Updated: Aug 25, 2017 18:15 IST
Manish Chandra Pandey
Manish Chandra Pandey
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Uttar Pradesh deputy chief minister,Dinesh Sharma,Prime Minister Narendra Modi
“We have adopted so many practices from Gujarat in Uttar Pradesh.”

Uttar Pradesh’s deputy chief minister Dr Dinesh Sharma is also the state’s education minister. Tasked with restoring the credibility of the state board examination by curbing the copying mafia, he spoke to Manish Chandra Pandey about education sector reforms and the first ever online teacher transfer policy, besides answering questions on madarsas, Muslims and coordination issues between the party and the government.

Excerpts:

Q: As the state’s education minister a lot is expected from you. How do you think you will be able to meet the challenge?

A: As the education minister, I am busy preparing the state’s education policy. We have come out with a new industrial policy, one that seeks to provide jobs, an all new mining policy and we are working towards checking migration of youth and brain drain.

Q: You spoke of a new industrial policy but Lucknow-based software major TCS, a prominent industry body, is shifting out of the state capital. What is your government doing to check this because it’s a worrying development?

A: Let me tell you that east UP and Bundelkhand will be our priority for our employment generation tagged industrial development and investment drive. As far as TCS Lucknow centre issue is concerned, it could be due to some internal issue but they too have assured us of increased investment in UP. Samsung has assured major investment and promises are flowing in. Very soon we are going to showcase a mega campaign aimed at generating investment. We will provide infrastructure, security and major facilities to investors. We will check migration from UP to other states. We are moving towards ‘Make in UP’.

Q: Modi government is making a major push for skill development. What is Yogi government doing about it?

A: We have asked for skill development courses on six months module to be incorporated at graduation and post-graduation level. We want youths to be armed with some skills even as they study. That’s a major focus area.

Q: Various governments promised check on arbitrary fee structures of private schools. Nothing happened. What are you doing about it?

A: I have held meetings with all stake holders. We are serious about checking fleecing. Also, we want teachers to teach. Over the years, teachers have been pressed into so many things that their teaching suffered. We want to change that. In many cases, teachers were made to work at the houses of officers to get desired transfers. We are changing that.

Q: How?

A: You have to see our new online transfer policy for that. It’s a completely transparent transfer policy. We will announce the transfer list in a couple of days and you will see that for the first time, teachers are not required to get endorsements from ministers and officers. At the same time, I am also working towards raising the standard of government colleges. In the past, there were schools with about 30 teachers but just 75 students. Nobody wants to go to villages. This has to change.

Q: But that will require some tough decisions. Isn’t it?

A: I know I might come in for a lot of criticism but we are going to act.

Q: Your party and government played a proactive role in raising the issue of triple talaq. Now, after SC order, do you believe the decision would help the BJP edge closer to Muslim women, many of whom have hailed the SC order and your party’s stand against the instant divorce practice?

A: We are inspired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi who is working for 125 crore Indians. He hasn’t said he will work for Hindus alone, not for Muslims. Now, any attempt at instant ‘talaq, talaq, talaq’ will be met with society’s ‘tadak, tadak, tadak’ (slap).

Q: Yes, but will this help the BJP connect with Muslim women?

A: It’s sad that the BJP has been branded communal as part of a deliberate misinformation campaign. We have made it clear that we will work for all, appeasement of none. We salute Abdul Hameed and Abdul Kalam but we will strongly act against those who seek to glorify Afzal Guru, Burhan Wani and the rest.

Q: Fine. But, how do you explain your government’s order directing madarsas to videograph the Independence Day event? Are you doubting their patriotism?

A: The government had nothing to do with the order. It was taken by the Madarsa Parishad, a body set up by the previous government. I fail to understand why such brouhahaha over video recording in madarsas? Similar videography was done in Sanskrit schools and RSS-run Saraswati Shishu Mandirs. In any case, if Hindus and Muslims don’t celebrate Independence Day, who will? I am proud that various madarsas were decked up on Independence Day.

Q: You have a strong RSS background. What’s the temple plan?

A: It’s very clear. We want to evolve a consensus on the issue. We are working towards it. The court too has initiated daily hearing.

Q: You had been Gujarat in charge of the party. What has been the experience like because both PM Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah come from there?

A: You can say I feel I received my training in Gujarat. It was a pleasurable, learning experience. We have adopted so many practices from Gujarat in UP and now, you will be happy to know that even Gujarat is picking up some of the models, like the new industrial policy we have introduced.

Q: You talked of checking migration of youth from state. How?

A: Previously, youth migrated to Gujarat, Maharashtra and other places for better jobs. The poor law and order and lack of infrastructure scared them away. This will change now.

Q: Your government’s handling of the Gorakhpur tragedy was criticised.

A: It was a misinformation campaign. CM Yogi ji has cleared the government’s stand. An inquiry is underway to fix accountability and our government has taken quick steps to improve the situation there.

Q: There are coordination issues between party and government in UP. Is that the reason why 23 working groups to iron out differences between the party and government have been formed?

A: It’s a usual practice in most BJP governments.

First Published: Aug 25, 2017 14:26 IST