PANAJI: Maintaining that the grants provided by the Goa government to the 100-odd English primary schools in the state would continue, even though the medium of instruction (MoI) policy of the government is to support and promote primary education in local languages, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said that the Bharatiya Bhasha Suraksha Manch (BBSM) protagonists, especially a senior member of the local unit of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh linked to the BBSM are making the MoI issue a ‘matter of ego.’
“The particular person is also using very disturbing language against me as well as the Bharatiya Janata Party on public platforms, where he is making demand for withdrawal of the government grants to these 100-odd schools,” he added, pointing out, “I too can use such abusive language, but would not do so in the best interest of everybody involved.”
Speaking informally to a group of Goan pressmen, who called on him in New Delhi on Thursday night, the Defence Minister said that wrong news is being spread about he and Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar having met national BJP president, Amit Shah, with a demand to convince the RSS leadership as regards dismissing the particular state RSS leader from his present position.
“First of all, the BJP has no role in deciding the appointment or sacking of RSS leaders from their position,” Parrikar stated, adding, “I meet Amit Shah on a number of occasions, but never discuss such issues with him.”
The Defence Minister also said that the Goa government is facing serious administrative as well as technical problems in stopping the grants to the 100-odd English primary schools. “The minute these grants are discontinued, the parents of around 30,000 students studying in these schools will have to pay the fees from their pocket,” Parrikar maintained, noting that another major problem, which would crop up is requirement of large number of teachers to teach these students, in case the schools decides to revert to their original medium of instruction, namely Konkani, so as to retain the government grants. “And finally, if someone approaches the court against this decision, the court would, in all probability stay the withdrawal of these grants, leaving the government in an embarrassing situation,” he noted.
“Therefore, it is in the best of interest of the parents as well as these schools to continue government grants,” Parrikar observed, stating that when he as the chief minister had announced the state MoI policy, which supported provision of government grants to 100-odd schools, already receiving the same, the particular state RSS leader had applauded the same through an article written in some local newspapers. “It is surprising to see him speaking against the very arguments, which he presented in that article,” he observed.
The Defence Minister also questioned the large attendance at the BBSM public meeting at Mandrem, in Pernem taluka on April 24. “Although various newspapers have quoted different large figures of the people attending this meeting, the police report has figured out between 1,500 and 1,700 people present at this meeting,” he mentioned, stating that these people were brought to the meeting by the BBSM by contacting ‘various leaders.’
Parrikar, replying to a question as regards the reports being published about his return to state politics as the Goa chief minister, said that there is no discussion about changing the present Chief Minister of Goa. “And if I want to go to Goa (as the chief minister), I will not do so by telling the press, as it would be a strategic decision,” he added.