- Dr Vardhan reportedly wrote to Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal
- The letter was about January 4 parent-teacher meets at government schools
- Mr Sisodia holds education portfolio in Arvind Kejriwal government
Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia locked horns with Union Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan on Thursday, telling the BJP leader he ought to be "ashamed" over attempts to "cancel parent-teacher meeting(s)" scheduled for Saturday. Mr Sisodia, who holds the education portfolio in the Arvind Kejriwal government, also accused Dr Vardhan of trying to diminish the ruling Aam Aadmi Party's (AAP) "remarkable transformation" of government schools in the national capital.
Dr Vardhan, who is the Union Health Minister, responded by saying he didn't need permission from Mr Sisodia to forward concerns expressed by citizens of Delhi to the necessary authorities.
"I am angry and saddened to see the BJP's mindset... sad we have leaders who stoop to stopping parent-teacher meeting. Harsh Vardhan-ji, how did you get courage to write a letter to LG to cancel parent-teacher meeting of Delhi government schools? You should be ashamed," Manish Sisodia was quoted as saying by news agency PTI, adding he would not let the BJP cancel the event.
Earlier Dr Vardhan reportedly wrote to Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal asking that parent-teacher meetings organised for government school students be cancelled. According to the Health Minister a representation of teachers said they wanted the meeting to be postponed because schools - both private and government - across northern states had been closed due to severe cold.
North India has been hit by a cold wave this winter, leading officials in some states to close schools.
Manish Sisodia, who assured parents and students of adequate protection against the cold, hit out at the BJP for opposing the AAP government's stellar work in the education sector.
"If BJP wants to compete with AAP in education, they should work for betterment of government schools in states it rules, such as Uttar Pradesh and Haryana," the Deputy Chief Minister, who has also exchanged barbs with Union Housing Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, said.
The AAP, which is seeking re-election in Assembly polls expected later this year, has pitched its work in Delhi government schools as one of its biggest success stories. In September a school from Delhi topped national rankings for government day schools, beating out the centre's Kendriya Vidyalayas.
Reacting to the Deputy Chief Minister's remarks, Dr Vardhan said the AAP had become "frustrated as it knows the fate it will suffer". He claimed that a representation of Delhi government school teachers had sought postponement in view of health hazards to the children.
"I forwarded their representation to Lieutenant Governor. This is nothing new. I send all requests that come to me to authorities concerned... been doing this for last 25 years," he said, adding, "Forwarding representations is my responsibility".
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also took to Twitter to express his dismay over the issue.
With input from PTI