Union minister Upendra Kushwaha on Monday said he would observe a fast in Devkund town in Bihar’s Aurangabad district on December 8 and in Nawada city the following day to put pressure on the state government to expedite the allotment of land for two Kendriya Vidyalaya schools in the towns, PTI reported.

While the Centre has approved the Nitish Kumar government’s proposal to build the schools, the government has not provided land, alleged the Union minister of state for human resource development.

Kushwaha, whose Rashtriya Lok Samata Party is part of the National Democratic Alliance, criticised the government’s education policy and claimed that most of the teachers recruited by the state government cannot count to 100. The relations between the party and the alliance’s other members – the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Janata Dal (United) – have become strained in recent months because of disagreements over seat sharing in next year’s Lok Sabha elections.

Kushwaha said the state has seen Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad Yadav’s “charvaha [shepherd] model” of education and Kumar’s “Nalanda model”. Nalanda is the chief minister’s home district.

“Is it [Nalanda model] the same model in which teachers are compelled to move around from block headquarters to the apex court for getting their salary?” he asked. “Is it the same model which has turned ‘vidyalaya’ [school] into ‘bhojnalaya’ [eatery]? Is it the same model in which students scoring zero out of 100 are declared toppers? If this is the Nalanda model, it must be demolished in the interest of poor students of the state.”

Kushwaha also placed a charter of 25 demands before the state government, the Hindustan Times reported. The demands include appointment of school teachers by the state Public Service Commission, re-evaluation of staff appointed since 2003, exemptions to teachers from non-teaching work, mandatory 75% attendance in state schools, modernisation of madrassas and organisation of student union elections on time. Kushwaha dared Kumar to engage in a public debate with him on the matter.

Responding to these demands, state Education Minister Krishna Nandan Verma said the Union minister should have made the recommendations earlier. “He will not be able to get any extra funds from the Centre nor would he be in a position to get any projects cleared now,” Verma added.