Jana Sena Party’s sole MLA Rapaka Varaprasada Rao voiced his support for the Andhra Pradesh government’s move to introduce English medium education in all government schools from the coming academic year. His comments in support of the YSRCP government’s much debated decision has evoked curiosity about his stand, since JSP chief Pawan Kalyan has been very vocal in the recent past about his opposition towards the move. Varaprasada Rao however rubbished the speculation around his intent to inch towards the YSRCP, stating that he will support any decision by the government if it benefits the people.
Varaprasada Rao won the MLA seat from the Scheduled Caste reserved constituency of Razole, in East Godavari district. Speaking in the Assembly on the third day of the winter session, Varaprasada Rao said the decision will benefit Dalit students attending government schools by bringing them at par with private school students from privileged backgrounds. “I myself am a Dalit MLA. Most students in government schools are from Dalit families and poor economic backgrounds. Those who can afford the fees tend to go to private English medium schools. The CM has taken a good decision to introduce English medium in government schools, and it shouldn’t be objected,” the MLA said. He also added that receiving education in English medium is important to be able to compete in the world for various opportunities. “In Razole and other places in East Godavari, we see a lot of people migrating to the Gulf to do labour work. But many people who migrate from Kerala go there for white collar jobs. If our people had access to English education, they would also be able to access such opportunities,” he said.
On Tuesday, Gannavaram MLA Vallabhaneni Vamsi who was recently suspended from the TDP for expressing support to the ruling party formally dissociated himself from TDP by requesting the status of a ‘special member’ in the Assembly. With JSP’s sole MLA now taking a stance in favour of the ruling party while Pawan Kalyan has repeatedly opposed the move, speculations arose that similar events might unfold in Varaprasada Rao’s case as well. Varaprasada Rao denied such rumours, stating that his support for the move was a personal choice, as he believed it would benefit Dalit children. “Our party chief never objected to English medium. He has demanded that Telugu language must not be sidelined and should be given equal importance, which is a valid argument. I might be the only MLA from JSP, but I am also a Dalit MLA. I have my own reasons for supporting English medium. I was only able to win the election because I contested from a reserved constituency. I do not have the clout needed to win otherwise. We are able to do this because Babasaheb Ambedkar has enshrined certain rights for us in the constitution. This is why it is important to have policies in place to give a push to marginalised communities,” Varaprasada Rao told media.
Asserting that he would only support the YSRCP for people-oriented policies, he said that while a lot of welfare work has happened, development has come to a standstill and the government must work in that direction as well by gathering funds. On being asked about his relationship with the Jana Sena Party leadership, he said, “There is no gap between us, and I am certainly not moving close to the YSRCP.”
Pawan Kalyan had taken a strong stance in opposition to the move, calling it a betrayal towards future generations. “You will be destroyed if you try to destroy Telugu language or culture,” he had said, addressing YSRCP leaders.