Javadekar talks campus peace, offers olive branch to students Long-pending Maha cabinet expansion likely this weekend
New human resource development minister Prakash Javadekar offered an olive branch to students on Wednesday, saying he will ensure a “good dialogue” with them to do away with the need to protest in colleges and universities. To buttress the point, the 65-year-old son of a schoolteachermother underlined his role in student politics in college.
“I am a product of students’ agitation. I was part of the Jai Prakash Narayan movement; we went to jail fighting it out for students’ rights and other educational problems. I will ensure that we have a good dialogue with students so that everyone becomes a partner in progress,” Javadekar said in an interview to Hindustan Times a day after he became HRD minister.
“In the last 40 years I have been into education in different capacities,” HRD minister Prakash Javadekar with his predecessor Smriti Irani in New Delhi on Wednesday.
His conciliatory tone marks a shift from the confrontationist position during predecessor Smriti Irani’s two-year stint, which triggered campus unrests over a range of issues, including
PhD student Rohith Vemula’s suicide at Hyderabad University and arrest of students for sedition at Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi.
The Maharashtra government is set to expand its cabinet in the next two days, probably on July 8. It will induct 9-10 new faces. After the expansion of the Modi government at the Centre two days ago, the long-pending expansion plan has got a boost.
The 20-month-old Fadnavis government is running the administration at its two-third strength because it could not implement its expansion plan for various reasons. After the sudden expulsion of senior-most minister Eknath Khadse over corruption charges last month, an expansion has become inevitable because 10 portfolios handled by him are temporarily with chief minister Devendra Fadnavis. The expansion is more likely between June 8 and June 9 ahead of the monsoon session starting July 18 and days before Fadnavis begins his four-day Russia tour on July 10.
The Fadnavis government, which is running the show with 19 ministers and 10 junior ministers, has 14 more berths to fill.