Pune: Senior Congress leader Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil on Tuesday alleged irregularities in the purchase of the books for extracurricular reading for school students in Maharashtra by the BJP-led state government.
He also alleged that part of the purchase was made from a publication linked to the RSS at inflated rates.
“State government’s Education department had purchased books for school children for extra reading worth Rs 41 crore and out of them, books worth Rs 8.17 crore were purchased from the Bhartiya Vichar Sadhana, a publication liked to the RSS,” the Leader of Opposition in Legislative Assembly said while addressing a press conference here.
He accused the government was promoting the “agenda” of the RSS as “majority of books are based on the mythology and religion, and not history”.
Citing two books from the publication, Vikhe Patil alleged the government purchased books at a far higher price than the original printed price.
“I purchased two books from the publication’s office which are on a state government list. The actual price of these two books is Rs 20, but the state government purchased them for Rs 50,” he said.
The Congress leader also claimed the content and the language of the books is difficult to comprehend for primary level students, for whom they are supposed to be used.
“With such books based on mythology and religion, there is an attempt to inculcate certain ideology among young minds,” he alleged.
“We demand that the state government stop the distribution of all these books and withdraw the list of books meant for extracurricular reading as soon as possible,” he said.
Vikhe Patil also referred to the state education department ordering a purchase of nearly 1.5 lakh books on the life of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
He also accused the Maharashtra government of roping in the RSS-linked institutions to carry out a study on the Maratha reservations.
“Mumbai-based Rambhau Mhalagi Probodhini and Nagpur-based Sharda Consultancy Services have been given responsibility to carry out a study on the Maratha quota on the basis of the social, economic and educational aspects,” he claimed.
According to Vikhe Patil, Sharda Consultancy Services has no experience in carrying out such studies but has been entrusted the responsibility in Vidharba region only due to its link with the Sangh.
The RSS, which has been opposing reservations, is now giving the work of study to such institutions, which is a big joke on the Maratha community, he said.
“We have been demanding that such study work should be given to acclaimed institutes likes the Tata Institute of Social Sciences or the Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics,” he said.
In a dig, Vikhe Patil said he would not be surprised if the state government holds its future meetings at “Keshav Srushti”, an institution dedicated to RSS founder K B Hedgewar near Mumbai, and assembly sessions at Reshim Baug, the RSS headquarter in Nagpur.
He also opposed the state government’s decision to announce funds for historian Babasaheb Purandare’s upcoming epic park project, “Shiv Srushti”, in Ambegaon Budruk in Pune district.
“Many people have accused Purandare of distorting the history of Shivaji Maharaj. Since the government is funding the project, it should appoint a high-power committee of acclaimed historians and experts. The Shiv Srushti should be built on the basis of recommendations of historians and experts, and not on the basis of Purandare’s imagination,” the Congress leader said.