New HRD minister Prakash Javadekar on Wednesday said education was not a subject for party politics adding that dialogue was the key to avoid agitations as he replaced Smriti Irani who had a controversy-ridden tenure.
Javdekar’s statements appear to give legitimacy to speculation her incompetency to deal with the agitations on the campuses of Hyderabad and Jawaharlal Nehru universities may have contributed to Irani’s sacking.
Irani was widely condemned for her role in the circumstances that pushed the Dalit scholar Rohit Vemula to death.
Speaking to reporters here, Javadekar said he was open to suggestions and consultations with everyone. He lauded the “good initiatives” taken by Irani and said he will also speak to her to take them forward
“I am a product of student agitation, so we will always talk with everybody. So with dialogues in place, there will be no necessity of agitation,” Javadekar said
Irani’s tenure was marked by controversies including JNU row and protests in Hyderabad University following dalit scholar Rohith Vemula’s death. There have also been allegations by opposition parties of saffronisation
“I accept this (new) responsibility humbly and I will talk to our earlier minister Murli Manohar Joshi,” he said
Joshi, a former BJP president, is now part of Margdarshak Mandal
The HRD minister said he believes that education should be student-centric and encourage innovation
On the new education policy, which is being formulated by the HRD ministry currently, Javadekar said it needs to become more relevant and “we have to make our education system more innovative”
He emphasised that standard of education has to be raised
Asked about his elevation as a Cabinet minister, Javadekar said that for taking the responsibility of HRD ministry, “you need to have a Cabinet minister. So o its a technical requirement.”
Speaking about his handling of the Environment and Forests Ministry, Javadekar said that he had always worked to empower tribals and any criticism on these aspects is misplaced
Asked about reports of Congress’ planned agitation on the alleged dilution of Forest Rights Act, Javadekar retorted with an apparent jibe at Rahul Gandhi, asking “Has their leader returned? I don’t know. That is their internal issue.”
He added that while political parties have a right to put forth their views and agitate, but “there is no case for any agitation (on this issue) as of now”.
(With inputs from PTI)