AHMEDABAD: The Congress held protests across Gujarat on Sunday to coincide with the ruling BJP kicking off celebrations for nine days to mark Chief Minister Vijay Rupani completing five years in office.
Rupani was sworn in as CM on August 7, 2015 in place of Anandiben Patel and occupied the top chair again after the BJP swept to power in December, 2017.
The Congress’ protests were centered on the state’s education policy, while many leaders also attacked the Rupani government for “wasting taxpayers’ money” by holding such celebratory events.
Several Congressmen were detained as they took out rallies holding placards and shouting slogans against the government as part of the party’s “save education programme.”
“In Gujarat, people are being looted in the name of privatisation of education. Instead of being ashamed of this, the BJP government is organising celebrations using taxpayers’ money.
“We demand that the Gujarat government immediately stop this policy of privatisation of education, withdraw decisions to shut down primary schools and fill vacancies in all government schools and colleges,” state Congress chief Amit Chavda said.
Chavda claimed over 10,000 classrooms in government schools were in dilapidated condition, while colleges were facing staff crunch by as much as 40 per cent.
Among the leaders who took part in the Congress protests were Paresh Dhanani, Bharatsinh Solanki and Arjun Modhwadia, a party release said, adding that it would organise programmes parallel to the government’s nine-day celebrations.
Meanwhile, the Aam Aadmi Party held events as part of its ‘agyaan diwas’ stir, the name chosen to mock the BJP’s ‘gyan shakti diwas’.
An AAP release claimed over 6,000 government schools were closed due to “lack of students”, while there were 14,000 schools where students of different classes were studying in the same room.
Talking to reporters, CM Rupani said Chavda should answer as to what the Congress did about education when it was in power at the Centre and in the state.
He further said Prime Minister Narendra Modi was setting up IITs, IIMs and AIIMS in all states to increase the reach of education.