Atishi in her office, which was earlier occupied by Manish Sisodia, with his picture at her table. (News18)
As Delhi’s education minister Atishi speaks to News18 after taking charge, she clearly signals that Manish Sisodia’s contributions will not be forgotten and he would continue to be her guiding light, allegations of scams notwithstanding
Atishi, Aam Aadmi Party’s Kalkaji MLA and former advisor to former education minister Manish Sisodia, took charge of her six portfolios — education, power and WCD, among others — on Thursday.
Her office, which used to be former Delhi Deputy CM Sisodia’s office is replete with his pictures with children. A standalone picture of Sisodia adorns Atishi’s table.
As Atishi speaks to News18 after taking over, the new minister clearly signals that Sisodia’s contributions will not be forgotten and he would continue to be her guiding light, allegations of scams notwithstanding.
How are you going to take the former education minister’s work forward? Politics apart, this is the place where you can actually make a difference?
As far as I am concerned, Manish Sisodia was the education minister of Delhi, is the education minister of Delhi and will remain the education minister of Delhi. The Bharatiya Janata Party’s central government can make false allegations, and under these false cases put someone like Manish Sisodia or Satyendar Jain behind bars. But they cannot take away the work that the two of them have done. Not just me, not just the AAP, the entire country is proud of the work that Sisodia and Jain have done, the education model that Sisodia ji has presented to the country and the world, and the mohalla clinics that Jain saheb has presented to the country and the world. The respect people have for them can’t be done away with using false cases. While Jain saheb and Manish ji might be behind bars, it is now our responsibility to carry their mantle forward till they return.
This is what makes Manish ji so special. Even when he is in jail, based on false allegations, he is still thinking and writing about education. I salute you, Sir. It is an honour to have been mentored by you https://t.co/hFWV85n5cj
— Atishi (@AtishiAAP) March 9, 2023
What will be your areas of focus in the education sector? How are you going to take Sisodia’s work forward? And, now that you have a government in the Municipal Corporation of Delhi, would MCD schools be a priority?
So far, we had been working in the Delhi government schools, which are from Class 6 to 12. That is really the area where a lot of improvement has happened. Now, with the MCD under the AAP government, we finally have an opportunity to work in synergy and ensure that every child of this city gets high quality education.
Is there a timeline to reform the MCD schools?
There is definitely a gestation period. It took us a few years to show the changes in the Delhi government schools. The advantage that we have today is that we are learning from our Delhi government school experience. Hopefully, within the next one or two years, we shall see a substantial difference in the schools run by the municipal corporation.
All agencies are in the hands of the BJP-led central government. If today Sisodia and Jain were to join the BJP, all cases would vanish. We all remember that the BJP used to bring out booklets on Himanta Biswa Sarma’s corruption. The Saradha scam was the basis on which the BJP contested two elections in West Bengal. But as Sarma and Suvendu Adhikari joined the BJP, they came out squeaky clean.
You have Women and Children, and Public Works Department — two crucial ministries. How are you going to work over there? What are the challenges you expect, especially in the PWD?
There is a lot of responsibility at a difficult time. Amid summer, ensuring 24-hour power supply is extremely important. With the G20 coming up, ensuring that Delhi’s infrastructure is up to the mark is extremely important. I am glad that Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is there to guide us. He is the one, after all, who has given Delhi 24-hour electricity and that too for free. He is the one who has brought about major infrastructural improvements in Delhi and that too at a much lower cost than projected. We will work under his guidance.
What about the possibility that Sisodia could also be in jail for a year or more now? It has already happened with Jain…
of the BJP and came out squeaky clean. But the AAP, Manish Sisodia and Satyendar Jain have always stood with the truth and they will keep fighting. The AAP will fight no matter how many of our leaders are sent to jail.
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