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Assembly Speaker is a huge responsibility and is a strong position in any democracy: Devnani

During the ‘KeyNote By Pawan Arora’, Assembly Speaker Vasudev Devnani in a freewheeling chat with CEO and Managing Editor of First India News - Pawan Arora, talks about how he transitioned from an educator to politician, how role of Speaker is extremely important and one that tests his capabilities and why there is a need to educate children in a way that they have unwavering allegiance to our national ethos. Excerpts…

Q. You are a five-time undefeated BJP MLA from Ajmer North, previously serving as Technical Education Minister and MoS (Independent charge) for Education in consecutive BJP governments. How do you respond to claims by those close to you that though you were not eyeing the position of CM and Deputy CM, you were looking for a cabinet berth? So have you now mentally adjusted yourself to new position as Assembly Speaker?
 I’ve always embraced the organization’s decisions, transitioning from educator to politician. Despite being a first-time MLA, I was honoured with ministerial roles twice. The current responsibility as Assembly Speaker is paramount and tests capability unlike before. The appointment fills me with joy; it’s a testament to the trust bestowed by central and state leadership. Navigating diverse roles, from ABVP state president to principal, has prepared me. Serving as Assembly Speaker is both honourable and rife with opportunities. The central leadership’s decision-making process is comprehensive, encompassing all aspects of responsibility.

Q. Your statements as Education Minister (2013-2018) sparked controversy, advocating for compulsory Saraswati Vandana, Surya Namaskar, and that instead of Newton & Akbar The Great, children should be taught about nationalists like Bhagat Singh, Veer Savarkar etc. What was the idea behind it?
A. My belief was questioning the idea behind educating our children. We educate our children so they become best citizens of our nation. The underlying principle is to nurture in them an unwavering allegiance to our national ethos, fostering a deep-rooted appreciation for Indian culture and values and sanskars. In this connection, seventy years after Independence, if we extol Akbar’s greatness to our children, what ethos are we instilling? It would be that the nation was a slave. The truth is that Maharana Pratap led a struggle-ridden life for Independence and hence a lesson of Pratap, The Great should be added. This is why for the first time in the country, I got a lesson on Pratap added to curriculum.

Q. You have been winning from Ajmer for so long, but there still are some basic issues that need to be addressed. For example, tap water does not come for days on end. Why hasn’t this problem been addressed till now?
A. In the past five years, the water supply issue has escalated significantly. While water was historically sourced from Bisalpur, challenges with distribution and system leaks persisted. Recently, we’ve managed to reduce delivery interval from 96 to 48 hours over the last two months as against the previous government. It is my effort that water should be delivered in 48 hours and then I will work to bring it down to 24 hours. I spoke to PHED minister and Secretary on this. Ajmer has grappled with water shortages for seven decades and although water is received in monsoons, it does not stand, gets absorbed or drains out quickly.

Q. You have won from Ajmer North five times which is no small feat. Was your win due to Modi factor or it was your strategy that ensured your victories?
A. Each election presents unique set of challenges. Several factors work in making a candidate win and we cannot pinpoint one factor. While PM Modi’s charismatic appeal undoubtedly resonates, victory hinges on a myriad of factors like the personal rapport of the candidate with the voters and their public relations.

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