The Maharashtra Legislative Council witnessed an uproar after the opposition alleged that a geography text book had some pages printed in Gujarati instead of Marathi.
NCP leader Sunil Tatkare raised the issue in the house,
saying that some Class 6 geography text books for Marathi medium, sold in his native Raigad district, were found to have six pages in Gujarati.
Revenue Minister and Leader of House Chandrakant Patil denied that the text books — published by Balbharati, a state government body — were printed wholesale with Gujarati pages.
“It could be a binding mistake in a few copies,” he said, alleging that another possibility was that somebody inserted these pages in a few books purposely.
Leader of Opposition Dhananjay Munde (NCP) said the issue concerned the pride of every Maharashtrian. “It seems you want to turn Maharashtra into Gujarat,” he said.
“The Leader of House should accept the mistake. How can he say we have doctored the book? There are about one lakh such books,” he said, demanding a reply from the government.
MLC Bhai Jagtap demanded an inquiry into the matter.
Chairman Ramraje Nimbalkar then directed the government to conduct an inquiry and give a reply in the House on Monday.
However, Tatkare said the allegation that opposition members doctored a copy of the text book was very serious.
“If you could prove that I printed this, I will drink poison here and commit suicide,” he said.
Other opposition MLCs started shouting slogans, and the chairman adjourned the house for the day amid the ruckus.
Tatkare said the mix-up not only proved that the BJP-led government was apathetic towards Marathi, but it also shows that it was “appeasing Gujarat”.
Balbharati also publishes its text books in Gujarati, as some Gujarati-medium schools operate in the state, especially in Mumbai.