Bitter Eknath Khadse tears into Uike during question hour
Ex-minister, restless after not being inducted in state Cabinet's recent expansion, grills newly-appointed tribal development minister over delayed policy implementation in schools for tribal students
Estranged senior BJP leader and former state minister Eknath Khadse on Wednesday vented his anger over delayed implementation of tribal welfare schemes, while seeking answers from newly-appointed state tribal development minister Ashok Uike. He blamed the highest-ever malnutrition deaths in tribal areas in the past five years on the inordinate delay in implementing policy decisions.
Khadse's outburst turned out to be the highlight of the Assembly's question hour because the inexperienced minister could not satisfactorily respond to him. His abbreviated replies upset the ex-minister who raised his voice and taunted Uike saying it was appreciable that a first-time MLA like him was made a Cabinet minister.
"What is this? The malnutrition deaths have increased in the past five years (of the BJP government). You must take this matter seriously and give me the deadline for implementation... I congratulate a first-time MLA like yourself being made tribal development minister," said Khadse.
Students denied their due
Khadse also asked Uike about the decisions that were taken some eight months ago, but not implemented till date. He said the tribal students of unaided ashram [residential] schools were denied their due in food, stationery, clothes, etc, and discriminated against compared to their counterparts in government and aided schools.
He said the guidelines for bringing the students at par with government and private-aided residential schools were decided on eight months ago, but were not printed till date for circulation.
Khadse also wanted to know why underpaid security guards of these schools were not given a pay hike despite a policy decision being made to do so. He said these personnel were paid a paltry sum of Rs 5,000 per month and made to work 24x7. He said they should either be paid more or their working hours should be reduced to one shift.
When Uike answered briefly and his replies made no sense to Khadse — as he claimed in the house — the ex-minister raised his voice and thundered that he wasn't asking for the formulation of a new policy, but demanding the implementation of the decisions that were already taken.
Khadse has been upset ever since he was dropped from the cabinet some three years ago, and his restlessness has seen a sudden spike after he was not inducted in the recent Cabinet expansion, when some turncoats and inexperienced MLAs, including Uike, were made ministers instead.
Sign up for all the latest news, top galleries and trending videos from Mid-day.comSubscribe