PTI, Chennai: Congress National Spokesperson Khushbu Sundar has welcomed the Centre's new National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 and apologised to party leader Rahul Gandhi for her differing stand from that of the party, with her statement setting off a Twitter buzz.
With the actor-politician insisting she "rather speak the fact than be a head nodding robot or a puppet,"Congress' state unit hit out at her for airing her views in the open, saying it was "indiscipline" and that the grand old party was ready to discuss "any controversial" matters in its forums.
As speculation mounted that the actor could quit Congress and join its arch rival BJP following her welcoming NEP 2020, Sundar clarified "I am not moving to" the saffron party.
"NewEducationPolicy2020 A welcome move," she said on Twitter on Thursday along with a 'thumbs up' image, much to the surprise of many of her followers who are used to her critical comments against the ruling NDA on various issues.
"My stand on #NEP2020 differs from my party n I apologise to @RahulGandhi ji for that, but I rather speak the fact than be a head nodding robot or a puppet. Everything is n cannot be about agreeing to ur leader, but about being courageous to voice ur opinion bravely as a citizen," she said in another tweet.
With her welcoming the NEP 2020, speculations were abuzz of her possibly joining the BJP, which she dismissed outright.
"I am not moving to BJP. My opinion might be different from my party, but I am an individual with a thinking mind of my own. Yes, #NEP2020 is flayed n flawed at some places, but I still feel we can look at the change with a positivity," she said.
The Centre's NEP 2020 announced on Wednesday has sweeping reforms like teaching in the mother tongue or regional language up to class 5, lowering the stakes of board exams, allowing foreign universities to set up campuses in India and a single regulator for higher education institutions, except for law and medical colleges.
Former HRD minister and senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor had welcomed it, but feared it may make education unaffordable for the poor as it showcases a tendency towards "centralisation, high aspiration and low feasibility" with an assumption that the challenge will be met by the private sector.
Tharoor had also said that the NEP glosses over the desperate need for qualified and trained teachers in schools, of whom there is a critical shortage.
Placing the burden of pre-primary education on over- stretched, under-funded and under-equipped anganwadis is "disastrous", he had said.
Responding to Sundar's statement, TNCC President K S Alagiri said the Congress is the "world's biggest democratic political party." "We can speak any controversial subject within the party forum. It will be welcomed. If we speak in a public forum it is called indiscipline. Indiscipline comes from frustration.
Yoga is the best medicine to cure," he said in a series of tweets on Friday.
With her tweet supporting the Centre's education reforms becoming a subject of discussion, Sundar on Friday said, "one tweet.. One line.. and i see the storm."