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Published in the 1-15 May 2004 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

‘Appointment of two crore Urdu teachers’!

New Delhi: It seems that the 82-year-old Atal Behari Vajpayee is a man in hurry waiting to return to power again and complete his unfinished agenda before passing on the baton to the "unanimously" chosen successor, whom he refuses to name. Mr. Vajpayee’s sudden love for Muslims has emerged so strongly of late that he has now promised Muslims with the appointment of “two crore” (20 million no less) Urdu teachers at an election rally in Muslim-dominated Kishanganj constituency in Bihar.

Mr. Vajpayee, who was campaigning for BJP candidate Shahnawaz Hussain on 22 April, said: "My government has decided to recruit two crore Urdu teachers to promote the language and proposed to earmark Rs 74 crore for madarsa students." Referring to the Gujarat riots, Vajpayee said: "What happened in Gujarat should not have happened. Let us resolve not to allow another Gujarat to happen anywhere else. Hindus and Muslims should not see each other with mistrust." 

When mediapersons asked as to how two crore Urdu teachers would be appointed when the overall strength of English and Hindi teachers in the country is nowhere close to two crores, BJP spokesman Naqvi found it difficult to answer and said since it is a matter of employment nobody should have any objection. Later, Naqvi said that since this was Prime Minister’s statement he had nothing to say about this.

Significantly, Urdu is the second official language in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi. The number of Urdu teachers in all these three states put together would not total even a lakh. However, besides remaining to be a matter of conjecture, such a promise by the Prime Minister of the country only shows the bankruptcy of his party which is not serious about its promises.

MG Correspondent  

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