| Students at the ABVP rally in New Delhi on Tuesday. (Reuters)
New Delhi, Nov. 26: Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee today assured a delegation of the RSSí student wing, the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, that a taskforce would be formed to look into their demands.
The delegation, led by ABVP president Kailash Sharma, urged Vajpayee to bring about fundamental changes in the education policy to make it Bharat-centric, more government participation in education financing and creation of more job opportunities, among other things.
The Prime Ministerís assurance is being interpreted as an attempt to bridge the gap between the BJP and the RSS because the ABVP has been unhappy with the Centreís performance on various issues, including education and disinvestment.
ABVP insiders said the BJP could not afford to offend its supporters at a time when the Gujarat elections were round the corner. Vajpayee is said to have told the delegation that a proposal for setting up a National Education Development Fund would be taken up with the finance ministry to provide loans to poor students. He also took into consideration the need to increase scholarships for scheduled castes and scheduled tribes.
Later, minister of state in the PMO Vijay Goel accepted the National Charter of Studentsí Demands from ABVP leaders during a rally at the Ram Lila grounds in Old Delhi.
ABVP leaders said the Prime Minister had agreed to immediately address four of their 58 demands.
At the rally, Goel declared that the Centre was committed to promoting education and outlined steps taken in this direction.
The government has allocated Rs 33,000 crore for elementary education and Rs 13,500 crore for higher education and managed to pass the right to education Bill for children aged between five and 14, he added.