On 24 February, the Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani earned both plenty of plaudits and wide criticism for her passionate speech in the parliament.
Her speech was tweeted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who dubbed it as ‘Satyamev Jayate.’
Irani thundered, ripped apart her opponents and even turned emotional during her speech. Her opponents hit back at her accusing her of ‘willfully misleading’ the parliament over Rohith Vemula’s death.
Several opposition parties including the Congress and CPIM have decided to bring in a Privilege Motion against Irani.
However, what nobody noticed was Irani’s ‘confession’ that she had gone out of her way to accommodate the rival politicians’ requests to get their children admitted in school wielding her power as India’s education minister.
Perturbed by constant heckling and to ‘shut up’ her hecklers, Irani roared, “jab admission karana hota hai bahanji, aap hi likh kar deti hain aur main karti hoon admission. Pappu Yadav ji ka patra dikha sakti hoon, Ranjan ji. Kendriya vidyala mein kin kin ko admission chahiye, maine karke diya hai quotey se bahar. (Sister, when you want children’s admission, you write to me and I always ensure their admissions. Mr Ranjan, I can show you Pappu Yadav’s letter how I got many admissions done in Kendriya Vidyalaya, even outside my ministerial quota.”
Many on social media have termed this as a public confession of ‘quid pro quo’ by Irani.
Aam Aadmi Party’s social media head Abhinav asked;
Union Cabinet minister accepts in Lok Sabha of quid pro quo & corruption.
And nobody gives a shit.
वाह री दुनिया pic.twitter.com/PWILJxF2Cd
— Abhinav AAP ?? (@AbhinavAAP) March 2, 2016
In November last year, it was reported that Irani had recommended a whopping 5,100 requests for admissions in the central government-run schools in a single academic year.
This is believed to be four times more than what Irani’s predecessors had recommended in the past.
“The minister recommended about 5,100 admissions at KV schools in 2015-16. The same was reported at the KVS board meeting and was noted,” an official who attended the 30 October meeting told Economic Times.
The paper, in its editorial opinion, had concluded that the minister’s recommendation bonanza were undermining the prime minister’s “promise of striking at the roots of corruption”
Irani took to twitter to issue a clarification alleging that the report had ignored ‘facts.’
@anubhutivishn All admissions r recorded as per requests frm MPs across parties+Bpl families. Ur source based lie as usual ignores facts.
— Smriti Z Irani (@smritiirani) November 23, 2015
However, her confession inside parliament will give credence to charges that the HRD minister had, in a way, flaunted her decision to promote sifarashi raj and nobody had taken note of it.
KVs cater to the schooling needs of children of transferable central government employees, admit about 1.5 lakh new students every academic year, with about 1 lakh of them into class I.