The Andhra Pradesh Assembly on Thursday saw a heated exchange of words between Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy and Leader of Opposition Chandrababu Naidu over the issue of introducing English medium in government schools across the state. While the Telugu Desam Party, which had earlier opposed the move, said that they were never opposed to it, they urged the government to work on challenges in implementing the move. TDP chief Naidu said that his party had never opposed it, and had in fact promoted English medium on their own terms, taking a jibe at Jagan saying that the YSRCP didn’t ‘invent’ English medium instruction.
In response, Jagan mocked Naidu by reading out news reports where the former CM was quoted as speaking in opposition to English medium. “They (TDP) have made strong efforts to stop English medium in government schools. He (Naidu) is acting like he himself invented and achieved the whole initiative,” Jagan said, going on to read from news reports saying Naidu was concerned that ‘if we do not protect our Telugu language, Telugu community may lose its identity.” Jagan and other YSRCP leaders claimed that the TDP had now taken a U-turn to support the move due to huge public support for English medium.
Responding to doubts over implementation, Jagan said, “English medium will be introduced for classes 1 - 6 in the coming academic year, and subsequently each year, we will bring in class 7, 8 and so on. So by the time students appear for class 10 board exams, they have had at least four years’ time to catch up.” He also added that the government has been working on teacher training, designing bridge courses for the students, and redesigning the curriculum, in order to overcome the anticipated challenges.
With Naidu claiming that Jagan had opposed English medium during the TDP’s term, Jagan challenged him to prove it, taunting the TDP for failing to implement the move during its five-year term. Naidu replied by saying that an article in Sakshi, a news publication owned by Jagan Mohan Reddy, had opposed English medium back when the TDP was in power. “Isn’t it the same whether Sakshi says it or he (Jagan) says it?” Naidu asked.
With this, the Chief Minister turned furious. “Does this person (Naidu) have any sense? How would you feel if I mentioned news reports from Eenadu and held you accountable for it? Eenadu is Naidu’s pamphlet paper, but we never talk based on those stories here. Media is an institution. They have Eenadu, and Sakshi stands opposite to it. They have papers in their favour, we have papers in our favour. But this cannot be allowed, you cannot attribute the stories to them,” Jagan fumed.