Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday said there are “forces” in the country that “do not want” children to get highly educated and India to progress.
Addressing a gathering at a function at the Civic Centre — the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) headquarters — here on the birth anniversary of Dr B R Ambedkar, he asserted that good education for children can create an impact that can help alleviate poverty.
Later, the CM Office issued a statement in which Kejriwal claimed that there are “forces in this country” that do not want the India to progress.
“They (these forces) do not want the children in the country to be highly educated, and these were the people who conspired to put former deputy CM Manish Sisodia behind bars,” he alleged.
“Historically as well, whenever a great personality came forward and tried to educate the masses, he was always attacked by a despotic ruler,” the AAP supremo said.
Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar became such a great personality because of the education he received, Kejriwal said.
“We want all of our children to become like Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar. We believe that each child has the potential to become like him. But these divisive forces were not able to handle one Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, and if all of our children become like him, then these forces will be forced to leave the country. And, that is why they are not providing good quality education to our children,” he claimed.
In his address, he also said that municipal teachers, sanitation workers and other employees will “work magic” in the next couple of years to improve the system like their counterparts in the Delhi government have done in the last few years.
The AAP is the ruling party in both the Delhi government and the MCD.
In his address, he extolled Ambedkar, the architect of the Indian Constitution, for laying out a vision for equality and egalitarianism in society and hailed his pursuit of higher education during the British era when not many Indians thought about getting degrees from institutions such as the Columbia University and the London School of Economics.
Ambedkar knew the value of education and its role in lifting society from poverty and bringing equality among people, the chief minister said.
Noting that coaching for government examinations was very expensive in the present day, Kejriwal highlighted the Jai Bhim Mukhyamantri Pratibha Vikas Yojana that was developed by the Delhi government to assist students who have passed high school.
He alleged that the Centre objected to it, and had temporarily stopped it.
“Which government does such things? Why would they stop a scheme that will benefit the children of the state? But I assure you, we will restart this scheme within a month,” he claimed.
Delhi Social Welfare Minister Raaj Kumar Anand said, “Until now, no government has worked towards fulfilling Babasaheb’s dreams. However, the Kejriwal government in Delhi is now actively working to achieve his vision.” He said Ambedkar was a champion of the Dalit community and a powerful advocate for women’s rights. He was a leader for all of humanity, regardless of their caste or religion, Anand said.
Kejriwal also paid floral tributes at the statue of Ambedkar on the Civic Centre premises.
Earlier in the day, Kejriwal paid homage to Ambedkar in a tweet.
“Tribute to revered Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar ji on his anniversary. Let’s come together to create an India where all children in the country will get a better education, the country will progress and become number one in the world,” he tweeted in Hindi.
In his address at the MCD event, he also announced that the AAP-led dispensation plans to bring “healthy competition” to improve civic affairs in the city.
“A ‘model RWA award’ has been proposed by Saurabh Bharadwaj so that one RWA (Residents’ Welfare Association) can be picked as the best RWA every year. Then we can have ‘best park’, ‘best sanitation worker’, ‘best sanitary inspector’, among other awards, in each ward so that people give their best,” Kejriwal said.
Children from poor economic backgrounds are now going to good institutions and bringing change in the lives of their families after getting jobs.
He shared the example of a Delhi school student whose father is a plumber, and who secured admission to IIT-Roorkee in computer science.
This was Kejriwal’s first visit to the Civic Centre as chief minister of Delhi.
The event was also attended by Delhi Health Minister Saurabh Bharadwaj, Mayor Shelly Oberoi, Deputy Mayor Aaley Mohammad Iqbal, Municipal Commissioner Gyanesh Bharti and several councillors, among others.
“We will improve MCD schools too and clean Delhi and make it shine. These same teachers and sanitation workers of the MCD will work magic in a few years with a positive atmosphere around them, you will see,” Kejriwal said.
There are 250 wards in the MCD jurisdiction. It runs primary schools, various hospitals, polyclinics and dispensaries and is responsible for sanitation and other civic activities in the city.
Oberoi said efforts are being made to remove the “mountains of garbage” in Delhi, and the chief minister was “personally overseeing” the process.
Set up in April 1958, the MCD was trifurcated into North Delhi Municipal Corporation, South Delhi Municipal Corporation and East Delhi Municipal Corporation in 2012. The three civic bodies were reunified in 2022.
In the first elections following the reunification in December 2022, the AAP emerged victorious to end the BJP’s 15-year tenure in charge of the civic body.