Indeed, schools outnumber teachers in some parts of the state. But that has not prevented Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh from going on a spree of opening new schools and colleges.

In just over two years of his stint, the Chief Minister has opened 100 primary schools and 16 degree colleges in the hill state, a move that Dhumal dismisses as a "political gimmick".

Political observers say the move comes at a time when the government has completed almost half its tenure and could be aimed at beating two-time Chief Minister Dhumal in his own field.

A former lecturer in English, Dhumal enjoys immense popularity in the state for his efforts towards promoting education.

The Congress government is focussing on improving medical education too and has promised to start three medical colleges announced by the previous central government by next year.

The Chief Minister says criticism would not deter him from going ahead with improving the standard of education.

He added he did not mind opening a new school in far-flung areas, even if there were just two students.

In any case, the newly opened schools in remote areas attract a good number of girls, he added.

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