PUNE: The youth wing of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), on Thursday, organised a protest against the Education Minister of Maharashtra, Vinod Tawde, alleging corruption and ideological indoctrination in the purchase of books by the State government. The books, which are to be given as ‘supplementary reading’ for primary schools across the State, have been embroiled in controversy since their purchase.
The books, which were purchased by the State government, has 1.5 lakh copies solely on Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Parties in opposition, including the Congress, have raised several objections like exorbitant prices for books with a lesser selling price and also the inclusion of content in these books, which is ‘objectionable and sexually suggestive’.
Rakesh Kamthe, the City President of the Rashtrawadi Yuvak Congress, said that these books are completely inappropriate for children of primary schools. “There is a story of Matsyagandha where there are references to loss of virginity and purity and sexual acts. There is another book, which has a story about Shakuntala, where a paragraph reads ‘The girl is the property of others, one can rest only when she safely reaches her owner,” Kamthe said. He questioned, “What are such books doing in children’s reading?”
The opposition has also alleged that the State government purchased the books at costs higher than the printed selling price. Reiterating the allegation, Kamthe said, “Many of the books in the list have been priced at Rs 50 per copy. The printed price on these books like the book ‘Maharshi Atri’ and ‘Bal Nachiketa’, is Rs 20. So where did the Rs 50 price tag come from?”
“The Education Minister is always in the news for all the wrong reasons. Every week, there is a new controversy. The minister should stop playing with the careers of thousands of students in the State and resign with immediate effect,” he said.