Delhi’s education minister versus the messiah of education and small schools

Arvinder Singh Lovely

Arvinder Singh Lovely

RC Jain

RC Jain

RNI, New Delhi:

Arvinder Singh Lovely has served as the Minister for Education in the present Delhi Government that is fighting a pitted battle against a spirited fight put forth by the BJP under former education minister Dr. Harshvardhan and an unprecedented onslaught from Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party. Elected to the Delhi Legislative Assembly for the first time in 1998, Lovely has won three consecutive times from the Gandhi Nagar constituency in East Delhi and has served as the Minister in the Delhi Government for last 10 years.

The Education Minister in Delhi Government is pitted against the BJP candidate RC Jain who is considered a messiah of the small and unrecognized schools in Delhi and who has regularly been at loggerheads against the Delhi Education Minister for several faulty policies of the Government, particularly in regard to the children belonging to low income areas, minorities, SC/ST and OBC community. It has been courtesy RC Jain’s fight to save small schools from the stringent Right to Education norms that lakhs of students belonging to low income areas in Delhi are still getting reasonably good quality education in these small schools, who would have otherwise seen closure if the Education Minister had had its way. While several schools were considering downing their shutters, RC Jain came as saviour to them and took their fight to streets claiming that many schools in India will not be able to fulfill Centre’s land norms and will shut down, bringing lakhs of children on roads. The fight that he took brought hundreds of school owners and children on street and culminated in a gherao of Delhi Assembly, consequent to which the Delhi Government was forced to ease some of the stringent policy related to land norms.

Ironically, RC Jain has served on several education committees formed by the Delhi and Centre Government, some of which were till now chaired by Lovely. Also the President of Delhi State Public Schools Management Association, Jain has been with the Congress all through and has risen from the unit level to the Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee but left Congress and joined BJP in the consequence of Government’s faulty education policies. Never the one who would let an opportunity go waste, Jain wrote a book ‘Tihar Jail Me Paanch Din’ when he landed in the prison for a demonstration against the education policy of the government. He has also written two other books ‘Antim Satya’ and ‘Bapu ki Hatya’, which have received rave comments.

Jain’s previous attachment with the Congress is something which shall be worrying Lovely, whose popularity has waned considerably due to the miserable plight of his constituency and his name coming in the alleged corruption in grant of fitness certificate to commercial vehicles. The wholesale cloth market, which is said to be Asia’s biggest, has compounded problems for the residents as it has been putting pressure on existing infrastructure, besides causing heavy traffic jams on major roads. Residents dread monsoon season as even a short spell of rain at times results in flooding of the lanes in colonies as well as major roads. They complain that despite sewer lines being laid over 10 years ago, these were never made functional. Besides, there is a growing resentment among voters over scarcity of water supply in the area. Areas like Seelampur and Welcome are the worst affected.

Gandhi Nagar’s crumbling infrastructure, poor civic amenities, large scale encroachments, traffic snarls, lack of parking space and faulty drainage system have gone from bad to worse during the past 15 years. Strangely enough, the Gandhi Nagar constituency has continued to send Lovely to the Assembly for three consecutive terms. Lovely is now aiming for the 4th tenure as MLA but presence of several star campaigners like Nitin Gadkari, Sushma Swaraj, Dr. Harshvardhan and Manoj Tiwari to Jain’s campaign, Jain’s clean image, his commitments and fights in the past against the system and some of Congress’s own misdoings seem to be working against Lovely this time.

Gandhi Nagar has been with Congress since 1998 when Lovely contesting for the first time defeated the BJP candidate by a huge margin and became the youngest MLA at the age of 30. Though not that popular any more, it remains to be seen if the Education Minister is able to meet the challenge posed by the messiah of education and small schools in Delhi.

Real News International News Bureau