New Delhi: About three months before the Punjab assembly elections where the Congress and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) will be in direct competition against each other, Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu sat on a dharna outside Delhi Chief Minister and AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal’s house Sunday joining a teachers’ protest.
Delhi government school teachers are protesting to demand regularisation of contracts and equal wages for guest teachers.
“Will be joining Delhi guest teachers dharna outside @CMODelhi @ArvindKejriwal residence. @AAPDelhi”, tweeted Sidhu Sunday morning.
— Navjot Singh Sidhu (@sherryontopp) December 5, 2021
He also criticised the running of Delhi schools on a “contract model” and accused AAP volunteers of “making money from government funds” meant for schools.
‘Delhi Education Model Is Contract Model’
Sidhu said that 45 per cent teaching positions are vacant in Delhi government schools, which runs on a “contract model”.
“45% teacher’s posts are vacant and Schools are run by 22,000 Guest Teachers on daily wages with every 15 days renewal of contracts!! (sic)”, tweeted Sidhu.
He alleged that AAP volunteers were making money from government funds for development of schools. “AAP promised to regularise contractual teachers, give equal wages as permanent staff but made it worse by just having guest teachers. Through School Management Committees, so called AAP volunteers earn 5 Lac yearly from government funds that earlier were meant for school’s development,” Sidhu wrote.
“In your 2015 manifesto you promised 8 lakh new jobs and 20 new colleges in Delhi, where are the jobs and colleges? You have given only 440 Jobs in Delhi. On the contrary, due to your failed guarantees, unemployment rate of Delhi has increased by almost five times in the last five years,” he added.
To back up his statement, Sidhu said that while there were 12,515 vacancies for teachers in Delhi in 2015, in 2021 the vacancies have increased to 19,907. He said that the AAP government is filling up these posts by hiring guest lecturers on contract.
Sidhu’s dharna outside Kejriwal’s house comes a day after AAP leader and Delhi MLA Raghav Chaddha conducted a “raid” at Chamkaur Sahib in Punjab, Punjab CM Channi’s home constituency. Chaddha alleged that the CM was patronising illegal sand mining activities in the state.
Thereafter, Kejriwal too spoke out against Channi, saying that he needs to be accountable to the public for his actions.
Churn in Punjab Congress
Over the last few months, there has been a churn in the Punjab Congress, with Sidhu at its centre. It began with Punjab CM and Congress stalwart Amarinder Singh resigning from his post, amidst reports of a rift between him and Sidhu, and the latter being promoted to state party chief. Thereafter, the Congress appointed Charanjit Singh Channi as chief minister.
Since then, a public rift between Channi and Sidhu has also come to the fore. Sidhu had resigned from the post of the Punjab Congress soon after Channi took over, since he was unhappy with some government appointments. He agreed to carry on after several rounds of talks.
Most recently, on 25 November, Sidhu said that he’ll go on a hunger strike against the Congress government if it does not release reports on the drugs menace and the 2015 sacrilege of the Guru Granth Sahib.
(Edited by Saikat Niyogi)