Gautam Gambhir. (File Photo: IANS). Image Source: IANS News

New Delhi, Jan 29 : East Delhi MP Gautam Gambhir had accused the Delhi government of running a school in a dilapidated building. However, it turns out the premises was closed since October 2019 for renovation, which is currently suspended as the Election Commission is using the building for the February 8 Assembly elections.

The BJP MP had, on January 27, tweeted a video of Government Girls/Boys Senior Secondary School, Khichri Pur, with broken walls and gates saying: "They say fight the election on education, I say fight the election on truth!" A day later on January 28, Delhi Education Minister Manish Sisodia released another video, which showed a closure notice on the main gate, and said the school was closed since October 2019.

When IANS visited the school on Wednesday, Sisodia's claim was found true with the two gates of the school closed with a notice posted on them that read "The school has been shifted to SBV JJ Colony from October 9, 2019." While the security guard did not allow the IANS reporter inside, she informed that the school is now under the election commission. Shanti, in her early 50s, has been employed at this school from past seven years.

"The school building is very old. It is closed for renovation and the work was stalled because of the elections. Now, they are checking their requirement for the polling (on February 8)," Shanti told IANS.

She also said that the renovation work will now take place after elections. She said that she had no idea if an MP had visited the school.

"I got to know about someone's visit. We have orders that unauthorised persons cannot enter the school. I got to know that some people came and made videos, but that must have been after my shift," she said.

People living nearby also said that the school building was in a bad condition and will be renovated.

"My daughter has been studying in the school from Class 6, now she is in Class 11. The building was in bad shape and we were demanding renovation. It has been approved now, but the elections came and the work will now happen after elections," said Mohammad Salim who lives in the colony across the street.

Rehnuma, Salim's daughter, said she is liking the new school.

"The building (of this school) was broken. Now the new school is good. It is not very far away," she said.

IANS also visited the school where the existing students were accommodated. It is worth mentioning that the school has been shifted to another campus already about two kilometers away.

However, the entry was not allowed but the guard said the students were accommodated in different shifts.

Several other students also echoed Rehnuma's claim, saying not just building, but the education is also improving.

The political drama over Delhi government schools started after Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal invited former BJP president Amit Shah to visit the city government schools.

While Shah did not visit the schools himself, all the seven MPs from Delhi went to visit some schools. TheMPs from Delhi, including Gambhir, visited different schools in their respective constituencies to check the claims made by the Aam Aadmi Party that they have transformed the education sector in Delhi.

The BJP leaders said the schools were in a bad condition and lacked basic amenities.

Releasing the video of their visit, Shah, in a tweet in Hindi, said: "Arvind Kejriwalji you called me to see a school run by the Delhi government. Yesterday, the eight MPs of Delhi BJP went to different schools and see how they are ... The plight of the schools exposed the claims of your 'education revolution'. Now you have to answer to the people of Delhi..." (Nivedita Singh can be contacted at nivedita.singh@ians.in)

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