India

“Drama, Photo Op”: Punjab Opposition Slams Bhagwant Mann’s Delhi Tour

'drama, photo op': punjab opposition slams bhagwant mann's delhi tour

Bhagwant Mann (left) will tour Delhi schools and hospitals with Arvind Kejriwal. (File)

Chandigarh:

Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann came under attack from opposition parties on Monday for his visit to Delhi to study the capital’s schools and hospitals, with both the Congress and the Akali Dal slamming the visit as “political drama” and a “photo op”.

Congress leaders Navjot Singh Sidhu, Amarinder Singh Raja and the Akali Dal’s Daljit Singh Cheema posted scathing messages on Twitter.

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Amarinder Singh Raja wrote, “In the last one month, 14 farmers of Punjab died by suicide under the AAP government. How many of these 14 farmer families did you meet @BhagwantMann sir? You go to Delhi again and again. Hope you are not trying to bring Delhi’s failed #Corona fighting model here? Will the government run from Delhi like this for 5 years?”

Mr Mann, accompanied by his senior officers, is expected to visit health institutes and schools in the national capital on Monday to learn the “Delhi model” and replicate it in the state, an official had said.

“This is next-level education. Something which can’t be thought of by big schools has been implemented by government schools. Digital education is taking place. There is collaboration with big companies. I’ve seen such schools in America-Canada but not in India.” Mr Mann said during his visit to one of the schools.

“I spoke with several students here, and where did they study earlier. They dropped out of big private schools to get enrolled here. They say that they have more facilities here. These students have new ideas…It’s mindblowing,” he added.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), before coming to power in Punjab, had promised to improve the condition of schools and hospitals in the state on the lines of its work in Delhi.

“In a bid to revamp the existing health and education infrastructure across the state, Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann will undertake a whirlwind tour of the premier health institutes and schools in the national capital on Monday,” a spokesperson of the Chief Minister’s Office had said on Sunday.

He will be joined by a battery of senior officers from both school education, and health and family welfare departments, to take input in the two crucial sectors directly attributable to human development, the spokesperson said.

A statement issued by the Delhi government said Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Mr Mann would visit government schools, hospitals and mohalla clinics, along with their teams, to understand how the “Delhi Model” can be adapted in Punjab.

“Kejriwal will be personally present to explain to the Punjab chief minister how Delhi’s transformation has taken place under him. He will be accompanied by ministers and officials concerned of Delhi,” the statement said.

Along with visits to schools, clinics and a hospital, the Punjab Chief Minister and his Delhi counterpart will jointly inaugurate a new swimming pool in one of the schools.

The Punjab government is also likely to sign a few memorandums of understanding with the government of Delhi, the spokesperson added.

The AAP-led government in Punjab had earlier come under fire from the opposition after Mr Kejriwal had held a meeting with senior officers from Punjab.

While Mr Mann had said that he had sent the officers to the capital for “training”, the opposition parties had charged that his government was being run through “remote control” from Delhi.

“If needed, for training purposes, I will send my officers to Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and even Israel. Why should anyone object to that. They (Delhi government) are specialists in education, power, health. Why shouldn’t I send the officers?” Bhagwant Mann had then told reporters.

Earlier this month, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin visited schools and mohalla clinics of the Kejriwal government in Delhi.

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