Q) What is the position of the Yuva Sena regarding the educational policy of the current government? What is your stance about the dire state of education funds?
Ans: Just last week, we met Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar and requested him to come up with a law to regulate pre-primary schools with laws like RTE and other laws for higher education. We teach women about being careful, but even men need to be educated about good touch and bad touch and uncomfortable behaviour from school itself and we are taking an effort for it to be taught in schools. When it comes to funding issue, it has been prevalent throughout earlier government tenures too. The Sinhagad institutes were seeing defaulted salaries of their staff for months. Our state ministers took action about it and allocated funds to provide them relief.
Q) Are you satisfied with the performance of Education Minister Vinod Tawde?
Ans: We have tremendous respect for him as he has risen to the minister’s post from the students’ movements. But that means we have more expectations from him and we struggle against the ministry and not the minister personally. From KG to PG, not a single student or parent is satisfied with the quality of the education. There are many issues we expected him to solve, but in the last 4 years, no change has taken place and useless programmes have been given priority. We need to check why students are not coming to government schools, what quality staff do we have and the Yuva Sena has always raised its voice against programmes being run only for publicity.
Q) Is Aditya Thackeray coming into his own? What kind of public response is he receiving?
Ans: People, especially the youth were looking for a leader who is fresh and young. Today, there is not a single youth leader who is actually young and not a 40 plus gentleman, apart from Aditya Thackeray, who has been the centre of attraction for the youth ever since he entered politics. He is innovative and original. The open gyms that can be seen in almost all cities, was a concept that he came up with. He supported nightlife and 24-hour restaurant permits. He has developed a following of his own.
Q) These positions are very liberal and unusual for the Sena. It has also become less confrontational. Is this a new Sena we’re seeing?
Ans: Calling it a ‘new’ Sena will not be fair. The methods used by the Sena were necessities of its time then. In those decades, under Balasaheb, the Shiv Sena rose up for the Marathi youth who were facing many hurdles and the aggression was necessary. But today, the Marathi youth has become self-employed or entrepreneur. Even today, if someone faces injustice, the Shiv Sena won’t think before taking a stone in its hands, but that is not necessary anymore. Times have changed and Shiv Sena is changing with it. It is adapting to the needs of a changing time, but if the situation arises, we do use the Shiv Sena’s style.