Guwahati: We should work on curing the disease of disparity and not mock poor states, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma wrote on Twitter Monday amid his ongoing spat with Delhi counterpart Arvind Kejriwal, who has criticised the BJP government in Assam over “closure of schools” owing to poor performance.
Sarma also suggested that India have “five capitals, one in every zone” to ensure that governments like Delhi “do not have huge wealth at their disposal vis a vis North East and states from East”.
Last week, the Assam government reportedly decided to shut 34 state-run schools after none of their students were able to clear the Class 10 board examinations. The Twitter battle between Kejriwal and Sarma began after.
Having been engaged in a dialogue with Delhi CM Shri @ArvindKejriwal, who’s by now in habit of mocking at other states, I’m of the view that we should work on curing the disease of disparity, and not mock poor states. Can we have 5 Capitals of India, one in every zone? 1/3
— Himanta Biswa Sarma (@himantabiswa) August 29, 2022
“North East does not need sympathy & ridicule, we need what’s due to us – respect, resources and regeneration,” Sarma wrote. This was in response to a tweet Kejriwal posted a day earlier that said: “Believe me, when ‘AAP’ government is formed in Assam, then there will also be development like Delhi. If corruption is eradicated, there will also be no shortage of resources.”
The tussle comes at a time when Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has been trying to make inroads in Assam. In March, the AAP opened its account in the state by winning two seats in the civic body polls. Then again in April, it won in one of the 38 wards it was contesting in the Guwahati Municipal Corporation elections.
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Timeline of Twitter spat
Kejriwal, citing a news report about the state-run schools in Assam, had said in a tweet last Wednesday that closing down the schools is not the solution. “There is a need to open lots of new schools across the country. Improve the schools by improving studies instead of closing schools,” he wrote.
Responding to Kejriwal, Assam minister Pijush Hazarika clarified the next day that the schools in question were not being closed but “amalgamated to improve the overall educational environment”.
“Secondly, respected CM @ArvindKejriwal ji have no rights to speak on educational upliftment as his fake ‘Delhi Model Schools’ have been busted from time to time,” Hazarika wrote on Twitter.
Later that day, CM Sarma took to Twitter to accuse Kejriwal of making the remarks “without doing any homework”.
“Since my days as Edu Minister, till now, please note, Assam Govt has established/ taken over 8610 new schools…How many new schools Delhi Government has started in last 7 yrs,” Sarma asked.
Arvind Kejriwal responded to the Assam CM Friday, claiming that pointing out flaws was not his intention.
“We are one country, we have to learn from each other,” the AAP’s national convener wrote on Twitter. “I will come to Assam. Tell me when I should come. You show me good work in the field of education. You come to Delhi, I will show you the work done in Delhi.”
However, that did not put an end to the squabble.
Sarma posted a thread on Twitter that same day that read: “Your ignorance is painful. Let me help you. Assam is 50 times bigger than Delhi! Our 44521 govt schools teach 65 lakh students- against your 1000+ odd schools.”
He added that “unlike Delhi”, Assam has to deal with floods, militancy and tough terrain.
“When you’re in Assam, which you so desperately wish to, I will take you to our Medical Colleges, 1000 times better than your Mohalla Clinic,” said Sarma, who is also the convener of the BJP-led North-East Democratic Alliance (NEDA).
Kejriwal responded to Sarma the next day, writing on Twitter: “We have a proverb here, if someone asks ‘when should I come’ and you respond saying ‘come whenever’ usually means ‘don’t ever come.”
(Edited by Amrtansh Arora)
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