Sidhu joins Delhi teachers' protest outside Kejriwal's residence
Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu Sunday joined a protest by Delhi's guest teachers outside Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's residence. Sidhu also attacked the Delhi government's education model, which the Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is projecting as its key achievement in its campaigning for the 2022 Punjab Assembly polls. Notably, Congress and AAP are arch-rivals in Punjab.
Why does it matter?
- The move is considered to be a retaliation to Kejriwal's recent participation in a protest by contractual teachers in Punjab's Mohali.
- Many AAP leaders have also been visiting Punjab ahead of the polls.
- Delhi's Deputy CM Manish Sisodia had also visited schools in Chamkaur Sahib—Punjab CM Charanjit Singh Channi's constituency—and criticized the state government for their poor infrastructure.
Delhi's education model contractual: Sidhu
Visuals from the protest site showed Sidhu sloganeering with protesting teachers. In a series of tweets, he slammed the Delhi government's education model as a "contractual model." He tweeted, "Delhi government has 1,031 schools while only 196 schools have principals...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."
Guest teachers treated as 'bonded labor'
The number of vacancies for teachers in Delhi increased from 12,515 in 2015 to 19,907 in 2021, Sidhu said. Delhi's school teachers are treated as "bonded labor and daily wagers" without job security or payment on holidays, he added. Earlier, a teachers' association had slammed Kejriwal for promising regularization of guest teachers in Punjab ahead of polls when the same is pending in Delhi.
'Unemployment increased 5X'
Sidhu said the unemployment rate has increased by "almost five times" in the last five years under the AAP rule. "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," Sidhu tweeted. He alleged the AAP government has failed to fulfill all its "guarantees."
Punjab poll campaign heats up
The AAP had won most seats in the 2017 Punjab Assembly election after the victorious Congress party. The AAP hopes to win in 2022 as Congress grapples with infighting. On Saturday, AAP leader Raghav Chadha also conducted what he called a "live raid" exposing illegal sand-mining in CM Channi's home constituency. Kejriwal had also called upon Channi to respond to the allegations.