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BJP, Shiv Sena at loggerheads over Urdu learning centre construction in Mumbai

Nagpur: Legislators of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Shiv Sena were at loggerheads on Tuesday over the construction of an Urdu learning centre in the Agripada area of south Mumbai.

BJP MLA Mihir Kotecha raised the issue of the Urdu learning centre in a calling attention motion in the legislative assembly, and accusing the previous Maha Vikas Aghadi dispensation of indulging in appeasement politics.

“The previous Shiv Sena UBT government had started to see green everywhere, and in a bid to appease a particular minority community, it forced the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to construct the centre instead of the originally planned industrial training institute (ITI),” Kotecha said, demanding the construction of an ITI.

Cabinet Minister Uday Samant said the decision has already been challenged in the Bombay High Court, and as per the order from the chief secretary, the work has been halted.

The BJP MLAs, however, continued to raise the issue, claiming that the previous government had indulged in appeasement politics.

Samajwadi Party (SP) MLA Rais Shaikh pointed out that it was Shiv Sena MLA Yamini Jadhav who had first moved the proposal to set up the Urdu learning centre, and every procedure was followed while going ahead with the plan.

BJP MLA Nitish Rane demanded that officials who gave land for the centre be suspended.

He also claimed that the Agripada area already had Urdu schools, which students did not attend.

Responding to the allegation, MLA Jadhav said, “There is already an ITI in my constituency. What we are building is not an Urdu school but a centre. It is a language like any other in the country and should not be linked to a particular religion. People in my constituency had demanded such a centre, and based on that, I had proposed the same.”

Following Jadhav’s clarification, Skill Development Minister Mangal Prabhat Lodha said that the issue should not be blown out of proportion, as the chief secretary has already stayed the construction following a court case.

(Published 19 December 2023, 14:00 IST)

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