Chief Congresswoman Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil today alleged irregularities in the purchase of books for extracurricular reading for students in schools in Maharashtra by the state government led by the BJP. He also alleged that part of the purchase was made from an RSS-related post at inflated rates. “The State Government’s Education Department had purchased books for schoolchildren for additional reading worth Rs 41 crore and among them books worth Rs 8.17 crore were purchased from Bhartiya Vichar Sadhana, a popular RSS publication, “the opposition leader in the Legislature told a press conference here.
He accused the government of promoting the RSS “agenda” because “the majority of books are based on mythology and religion, not history.” Citing two books from the publication, Vikhe Patil alleged that the government purchased the books at a much higher price than the original printed price. “I bought two books from the publication office that are on a state government list. The real price of these two books is Rs 20, but the state government bought them for Rs 50, ”he said.
The congressman also claimed that the content and language of the books are difficult for elementary school students to understand, for whom they are supposed to be used. “With such books based on mythology and religion, there is an attempt to instill a certain ideology among young minds,” he alleged. “We demand that the state government stop the distribution of all these books and remove the list of books for out-of-school reading as soon as possible,” he said.
Vikhe Patil also mentioned that the state education department ordered the purchase of nearly 1.5 lakh of books on the life of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He also accused the government of Maharashtra of harassing institutions linked to the RSS to conduct a study on the Maratha reserves. “Rambhau Mhalagi Probodhini, based in Mumbai, and Sharda Consultancy Services, based in Nagpur, were commissioned to conduct a study on the Maratha quota based on social, economic and educational aspects,” he said.
According to Vikhe Patil, Sharda Consultancy Services has no experience in carrying out such studies but has been given responsibility for it in the Vidharba region solely because of its connection to the Sangh. The RSS, which opposed the reservations, now entrusts the study work to such institutions, which is a big joke on the Maratha community, he said. “We have requested that such study work be entrusted to renowned institutes like the Tata Institute of Social Sciences or the Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics,” he said.
During a dig, Vikhe Patil said he would not be surprised if the state government held its future meetings at “Keshav Srushti”, an institution dedicated to the founder of RSS KB Hedgewar near Mumbai, and sessions assembly at Reshim Baug, the RSS headquarters in Nagpur. He also opposed the state government’s decision to announce funds for historian Babasaheb Purandare’s next epic park project, “Shiv Srushti”, at Ambegaon Budruk in Pune district.
“Many people have accused Purandare of distorting the story of Shivaji Maharaj. Since the government is funding the project, it should appoint a high-level committee made up of renowned historians and experts. The Shiv Srushti should be built on the basis of the recommendations of historians and experts, and not on the basis of the imagination of Purandare, ”said the president of Congress.