Former Minister B. Ramanath Rai on Thursday, November 17, questioned a circular encouraging participation of government primary and high school teachers to accompany students for a two-day programme organised by Sangh Parivar outfits in Mangaluru.
“If it was a programme merely for the enrichment of students’ knowledge, we do not have any objections. What is surprising is a circular issued by the Deputy Director of Public Instructions (DDPI), Mangaluru, offering ‘on official duty’ leave to teachers participating in the programme on November 19-20,” Mr. Rai said.
He said that Keshava Smrithi Samvardhana Samithi is organising the Kannada Shaala Makkala Habba (Kannada-medium school children’s fest) at Sangha Niketana in Mangaluru, the regional headquarters of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). Former Dakshina Kannada Zilla Panchayat Vice-President Satish Kumpala, a BJP leader, is the nodal person for the event while district BJP treasurer Prakash Anchan is a member of the Samithi.
In his November 9 circular to BEOs, the DDPI said that Samithi convener Deviprasad Shetty has made a representation to send Kannada-medium students for the Habba, an event that aims to introduce historical personalities, culture and many other things to the students. Mr. Rai said the circular is one of the many examples of gross misuse of power by the BJP government in Karnataka.
Multiple instances of misuse of power
Giving another instance of alleged misuse of power, Mr. Rai said an MLA in the district hosted a lavish lunch for anganwadi workers, who also work as booth-level officers (BLOs) during the preparation of electoral rolls as well as during conduct of elections. The reason cited was recognition of their contribution during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the Covid-19 pandemic had ended long ago, and the lunch was nothing but an attempt to influence the BLOs who are now busy with revision of electoral rolls, Mr. Rai alleged.
Even during the recent programme of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Mangaluru, the government had directed panchayat development officers to ferry beneficiaries of government schemes to the programme venue, which Mr. Rai cited as another example of alleged misuse of power.
“At a time when elections are approaching, the BJP is increasingly misusing government machinery,” the former Minister alleged.