Vice President Venkaiah Naidu on Tuesday told Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu to make it mandatory to learn Telugu to get a job in the state, The New Indian Express reported.

“Make knowledge of Telugu language compulsory to get jobs in Andhra Pradesh and make Telugu language mandatory for all students irrespective of medium of language the school adopts in the state,” Venkaiah Naidu said. He was in Vijayawada to lay the foundation stone for a few highway projects.

“You do it and everyone will study Telugu, and patronise the mother tongue of millions in the state,” Venkaiah Naidu told Chandrababu Naidu. “It will automatically solve several problems.”

He was quick to add, however, that he was not against learning other languages, and only wanted people to be proficient in their mother tongue.

“I have today become the vice president after being minister and heading the party at the national level. Chandrababu Naidu has become chief minister,” Venkaiah Naidu said, explaining that it was not necessary to study in an English-medium school to prosper in life. “Though he has not studied in an English-medium school, Narendra Modi heads a powerful nation as its prime minister,” he added.

The case for Hindi

This is not the first time that Venkaiah Naidu has urged people to pick their mother tongue over other languages. In September, he had said that Indians must speak their mother tongue more than English to promote Indian culture instead of looking towards the West.

In June, when he was the information and broadcasting minister, he was criticised by several leaders for referring to Hindi as the national language of the country. Then too, he had said English was given too much importance.

Article 343 of the Constitution assigns both Hindi and English the status of official languages.