Soon after BJP MP and its Delhi unit chief, Manoj Tiwari, alleged at a press conference here today that there was a “scam” of Rs 2,000 crore in the construction of classrooms for Delhi government schools, AAP leader and chief minister, Arvind Kejriwal, and his deputy, Manish Sisodia, rejected his allegations and dared Tiwari to get them arrested if there was any veracity in his charges. Sisodia asked Tiwari to get him arrested if there was truth in his claims or offer apology to the people of Delhi.
Tiwari had claimed, “We’re exposing a scam involving Delhi’s chief minister and deputy chief minister. According to an RTI, an extra Rs 2,000 crore was paid for the construction of classrooms in schools though this work could have been done in only Rs 892 crore.”
Responding to the allegations, Sisodia, who handles the education portfolio, addressed a press conference, challenging the BJP to arrest him if he had committed a crime. “If I am guilty of a Rs 2,000 crore scam, then it is a matter of shame that I am roaming free. Instead of arresting me, you are conducting press conferences. The BJP controls the Delhi Police, the CBI, the ACB today; I challenge you, arrest me by the evening or apologise to the people of Delhi,” Sisodia asserted.
Reminding the BJP of the number of times various lawenforcement agencies have been unleashed against the Delhi government and its ministers, Sisodia said, “The LG had seized 400 files of the Delhi government in 2017, but they could not find any wrongdoing. Education department files have been investigated for the last three years, but nothing was caught. They conducted a CBI inquiry against me, used the Income Tax department to harass us, but didn’t find anything against our government. But for petty political gains, the BJP is trying to s top the construction of classrooms in Delhi.”
Kejriwal also reportedly hit back at Tiwari, saying the BJP was trying to hamper good education being provided to Delhi’s poor people by the AAP government. “The BJP’s CBI checked all our files but found nothing. If there is a scam then arrest us immediately, all the agencies are with you. Why do you want to obstruct good education to the poor,” Kejriwal tweeted.
He also said, “For the first time poor children are studying in such good schools (of Delhi government) which were earlier available to rich people only. Now children of auto drivers, housemaids and labourers are becoming doctors, engineers and lawyers. BJP does not want this so it has deliberately kept the schools in poor quality in the states ruled by it.”
Sisodia also reportedly posted a video presentation on infrastructure at the Delhi government schools, and challenged Tiwari to name 10 such schools in BJP-ruled states which could match them.
The deputy CM said the expenditure on construction of classrooms can not be calculated as Tiwari has done. “He knows no maths or anything about education.”
Joining issue with Sisodia further, Tiwari asked why Sisodia spoke about just 10 schools. “Who will select the 10 schools, I or Sisodia ji?” he asked.
The Delhi BJP chief also asked why the students clearing their exams from the Delhi government schools fail to get admission to the Delhi University. If Sisodia’s claims of educational reforms are true, why lakhs of government school students continue to fail in exams every year, Tiwari alleged.