BJP-MGP ‘complicate’ MoI, keeping the Bill in the limbo

PTI, PANAJI | 29 December 2015 18:08 IST

The Bharatiya Janata Party-led ruling coalition appears to be complicating the Medium of Instruction issue by expressing self-contradictory views, making it certain that the controversial bill does not come up in the winter Assembly session.

The BBSM agitation against giving government grants to the Church-run English medium primary schools has received a severe setback with the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party making a volte face on the MoI issue.

On the other hand, it is almost certain that the assurance given to FORCE to pass the bill, giving grants to the Church-run English medium primary schools, in the winter session will not be fulfilled by the ruling coalition.

However, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party has decided to meet once again to discuss the Medium of Instruction issue, before the winter Assembly session begins on 11 January.

No matter what the parties belonging to the ruling coalition decide, but it is certain that the bill amending the Goa School Education Act to make it a law to give grants to 130 Church-run primary schools will not come up in the five –day winter session.

MGP SUPPORTS CHURCH SCHOOLS

The statement made by PWD minister Sudin Dhawalikar, leader of the three-member ruling coalition, has come as a surprise since the MGP now supports grants to the schools of all the mediums, including English.

Dhawalikar yesterday told the media that all the schools running in all the mediums should get government grants.

While the BJP had changed its pre-election stand of opposing grants to English medium private primary schools (run by Diocesan Board of Education), the MGP had remained firm on its decision earlier.

Incidentally, the MGP was also the ruling partner of the erstwhile Congress government, which had continued government grants to Church-run schools even after shifting to English medium, after running it in Konkani for 20 long years.

“We have not yet discussed the new stand our leader has spoken about. May be it is his personal opinion”, said MGP’s Ponda legislator Lavoo Mamledar, who is also the member of the Select Committee sitting on the bill.

 

He hopes that issue would be discussed in the legislative wing before the session begins, but the central executive of the party would meet only after the session, said Mamledar, also the party general secretary.

The outspoken MGP MLA expressed doubts that the select committee report would be tabled in the winter session since the committee has not even discussed the issue yet.

“We met twice, once when Manohar Parrikar was the CM and then chaired by the new CM Laxmikant Parsekar. But there was no discussion absolutely on anything”, said Mamledar.

THE BJP CONFUSION

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, on the other hand, has decided to discuss the issue on 2 January as suggested by defence minister Manohar Parrikar yesterday.

The decision was taken at a dinner meeting of the BJP legislators held last night in a city hotel, attended by Parrikar and Parsekar.

The chief minister has already said on umpteen occasions that the existing policy of giving grants to Church-run schools will not be changed.

Sankhli MLA Pramod Sawant, who is also the select committee member, has however fully supported the Bharatiya Bhasha Suraksha Manch, which opposes grants to Church-run schools.

“I am confident the party will take a positive stand on the issue and I will express my views in the party”, he claims.

But the BJP legislator does not know what decision the party would ultimately take – support the existing bill or alter it.

But he is pretty sure that the bill cannot come up in this session, simply because the select committee has not met.

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