26.1 C
Tuesday, April 16, 2024

‘Act against teachers, we will see’, Raj Thackeray ‘dares’ EC

Mumbai, Feb 19 2024-

Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) President Raj Thackeray on Monday trained guns at the Election Commission (EC) for its compulsions to involve school teachers in poll-related duties.

Sounding annoyed, the MNS chief demanded to know why the EC is involving school teachers for election work which could directly affect the education of children.

He was speaking to the media here after meeting a delegation of teachers from the Shardashram Vidyamandir School of Dadar west. The teachers complained that they were being forced to do election duties against their wishes and threatened with ‘disciplinary action’ if they failed to comply.

“Don’t they know that the elections are coming periodically? Have the elections been announced abruptly? They, why can’t they create a separate cadre for poll duties, train them and then deploy them for their work,” said a visibly irked Raj Thackeray.

On the apprehensions of the teachers that they would face disciplinary proceedings if they flouted the orders, Raj Thackeray countered that “disciplinary action must be initiated against the EC instead of the teaching community”.

He directed the school teachers “not to report for election duties or programs anywhere” and instead pay their attention to the student community.

“Every time elections are held, things are being done in a hasty manner. You people don’t go for election duties. You just concentrate on the school children. If they (EC) act against you, then we will see,” said Raj Thackeray.

For the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and other primary school teachers (Class I-IV) have been asked to report for poll-duties.

More than 4,000 teachers hailing from only civic schools, besides other schools, have been deployed for election work, prompting Raj Thackeray to ask: “Why is there so much work now? What does the Election Commission do for five years? Action should be taken against the EC for not doing its work for five years.”

He queried why the EC does not have a proper system in place, and everytime they go after the teachers even as elections are being held in the country for so many decades.

“Should not you have your system ready for the polls? The school teachers are supposed to impart knowledge to the children. Have they been taken (into service) for election work?” said Raj Thackeray, slamming the EC.

Maharashtra English School Trustees Association (MESTA) President Sanjayrao Tayade-Patil said that it is a routine practice to ‘take away’ the government or aided school teachers for poll-related duties before and during the actual Lok Sabha or Assembly elections.

“Most teachers are reluctant to report for such extra duties with limited compensation and a lot of responsibilities, that disturbs our academic schedules,” said Tayade-Patil, welcoming Raj Thackeray’s assertions.

A government school Headmaster, declining to be identified, said that the teachers have to go for a minimum four-day training session, followed by three-four days during the elections at all the polling stations.

“At the end of this exercise, they are paid between Rs 800-1,200, plus given a meal on the final voting day after they complete all their duties. For those teachers who don’t attend, they are served notices, issued memos or other forms of punitive action is taken,” said the Headmaster.

When asked to react on Raj Thackeray’s challenge to the EC, they chuckled and asked whether “he will really stand by any teacher” if any school-teacher dares to flout the EC directive.

(Quaid Najmi can be contacted at: [email protected]) (Agency)




Stay Connected