Amid the Twitter war, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma took a jibe at Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and dared him to compare Delhi with New York and Tokyo.
“Delhi has been the capital of India since the time of the Mughals. He should compare Delhi with the New York and Tokyo instead of Guwahati and Shillong. I do not have as good resources as Delhi has, but still, I run 40,000 schools while he runs 1,200 schools,” CM Sarma said.
He further said, “Kejriwal ji wanted me to invite him to Assam. I have already invited Manish Sisodia, he must have got a notice from the Court as well. He (Arvind Kejriwal) should also come if he wants.”
This came days after the Chief Ministers of both the states engaged in a war of words on Twitter over the education systems implemented in their states.
The spat began when reacting to a news report that the Assam government had decided to shut down 34 schools due to poor results while Kejriwal had said that shutting of schools was not the solution.
This tweet drew a sharp response from CM Sarma, who claimed that Kejriwal had skipped ‘homework’ before commenting. He also asked how the Kejriwal government established many new schools in Delhi in his seven years of governance.
“Dear @ArvindKejriwal Ji. – As usual, you commented on something without any homework! Since my days as Edu Minister, till now, please note, Assam Govt has established/ taken over 8610 NEW SCHOOLS; break-up below. How many new schools Delhi Government has started in the last 7 yrs?” Sarma said.
Sarma also listed numbers related to schools that the Assam government had taken into its fold. “Provincialisation or taking over Pvt schools into govt fold since 2013: Elementary 6,802; Secondary 1,589 Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya:81 Netaji Subash Chandra Bose Avashik Vidayalaya:3 Adarsha Vidyalaya:38 Tea Garden Model School:97 Curious to know Delhi’s figures!,” Sarma added.
AAP leader Kejriwal then replied that he did not mean to highlight the “flaws” in the Assam model of education and said Sarma should show him the good work being done in the field of education. Kejriwal added that he could show Sarma the work of his government.
“Oho. Looks like you got it wrong. I didn’t mean to highlight your flaws. We are all one country. We have to learn from each other. Only then will India become the number one country. I will come to Assam. Tell me when I can come ? You show your good work in the field of education. You come to Delhi, I will show you the work I have done in Delhi,” said Arvind Kejriwal.
Sarma, however, sought to assert that there was a sea of difference between the circumstances that the two states faced.
“Dear @ArvindKejriwal Ji, Your ignorance is painful. Let me help you. Assam is 50 times bigger than Delhi! Our 44,521 govt schools teach 65 lakh students- against your 1000+ odd schools. Our army of dedicated teachers number 2+ lakh; Midday meal workers 1.18 lakh. Fathom it?”
Assam dealt, he said, faced severe challenges like flood and militancy, but still delivered high-quality education. He invited the Delhi Chief Minister to visit Assam and witness the challenges firsthand.
“Unlike in Delhi, we manage fury of floods, dealt with militancy, negotiate hilly & tough terrains – and yet deliver high-quality education. We’re amazing hosts. Please come; spend 2 nights in our riverine area and hill districts. See the challenges we face. You’ll stop lecturing,” tweeted Sarma.
Further highlighting Assam’s education system, the Assam CM said, “We impart education in six mediums including 14 different tribal languages. Our diversity is something that we’re proud of, cherish, and ensure it to thrive through our unique education system. And yes, we do not have resources like that in Delhi. We’re proud of what we’ve and do!”
Hitting out at the AAP leader, Sarma claimed that Assam’s Medical Colleges were 1,000 times better than Delhi’s Mohalla Clinics.
“And yes, when you’re in Assam, which you so desperately wish to, I will take you to our Medical Colleges, 1,000 times better than your Mohalla Clinic. Also, meet our bright Govt school teachers and students,” added Sarma.
The tweets of both the Chief Ministers went viral. BJP and AAP have been attacking each other on a range of issues in recent times. The CBI action against Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia has further intensified the tussle.
Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Sisodia has also been summoned before a Chief Judicial Magistrate’s court in Assam’s Kamrup district on September 29 in connection with a defamation case. The case against Sisodia was filed by Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.
A few months ago, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader in a press conference alleged that the Assam government had given contracts to Sarma’s wife’s firms and son’s business partner to supply Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits above market rates during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020. Sarma had dismissed the allegations and filed a defamation case against Sisodia.