Stung by Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi's remarks on the delay in delivery of Aakash tablets, Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal had his comeback: "Woh toh paataal mein rahte hain, humne unke haath mein aakash de diya hai
. (He lives in the netherworld, I have put the sky in his hands. Aakash means sky in Hindi)"
On September 26, Mr Sibal sent a couple of Aakash tablets to Mr Modi, with a letter that said, "Your statement has disappointed me. Education is a collaborative venture beyond the pale of politics and we need to work together in the best interest of the children of the country."
Though Mr Sibal asked the Gujarat Chief Minister to keep education away from politics, there were clearly very political statements made on both sides over the the Aakash, touted as the world's cheapest computer.
Clearly, whatever the computing power of the Aakash, politicians find it difficult to resist wordplay around it. Mr Modi had said that the much-hyped tablets have not come down to earth yet.
"Kaash (If only) this Aakash tablet could land on earth, then the lie (promise of free laptops by state Congress) they (Congress) are spreading now would hold some weight," Mr Modi had said.
Saying that the advanced version of the device Aakash 2 has been developed by IIT Bombay with more applications, Mr Sibal in his letter asked Mr Modi for his feedback hoping "you would be satisfied with the hard work that has been put in by our institutions and our people".
He said "though it (Aakash) has taken time, I am of the firm opinion that Aakash will showcase the best in frugal innovation that our country can proudly pioneer". Mr Sibal said the Cabinet would soon be approached on seeking of approval for manufacture of five million Aakash tablets.
He said that on education day, they would provide 20,000 children with Aakash at Vigyan Bhawan here.
"We dreamt and we realised it. Why? Because we don't have an alternative."
He said Aakash-2 tablets will be priced at Rs 2,276. It will have Cortex A8 - 1Ghz processor, 512 MB RAM and 4 GB of Flash Memory.
(With inputs from PTI)