Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Patwari recruitment: Cong sharpens attack on Shivraj govt as Vyapam ghost haunts again

With the ghost of the Vyapam scam appears to have returned to Madhya Pradesh, the Congress has sharpened its attack on the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government in the state.  

The fresh controversy was triggered after the merit list of a recent examination for the posts of Group 2 and Sub Group 4 Patwari – a revenue official was released, in which seven out of the top ten scorers took their exams at the NRI College, Gwalior. This exam centre reportedly has strong links to BJP MLA Sanjeev Kushwaha.

Apprehension was raised over “unusual” pattern in the answersheets of these seven toppers, wherein the candidates signed their examination forms in Hindi, but answered the question papers in English.

Congress leader Arun Yadav was the first who alleged “irregularities” in the recruitment process. The examination was conducted by the Madhya Pradesh Employees Selection Board (ESB) – formerly known as the Professional Examination Board (PEB) or the Vyavsayik Pariksha Mandal (Vyapam).

Subsequently, scores of job aspirants staged a massive protest at Indore District Collector’s office and demanded an investigation into the alleged irregularities. The protesters alleged that there have been irregularities in the examination and the results have been rigged.

Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi also hit out at Shivraj-led BJP government in the state on the issue.

“Once again there are reports of scam in recruitment under the rule of BJP government of Madhya Pradesh… why is the government shying away from conducting an inquiry? Why only the names of BJP leaders keep cropping up for their alleged involvement in recruitment scams?… Why is the BJP government putting the future of lakhs of youth in darkness?,” she said in a tweet.

Former Chief Minister and state Congress chief Kamal Nath, who has already demanded an independent inquiry into the matter, on Thursday sought justice for the aspirants and “advised” the Chief Minister to leave the “mentality of covering up every case of corruption and scam”.

“The way rigging and scams are coming to the fore in every competitive and recruitment examination in Madhya Pradesh, it is natural for the hardworking students to be agitated. I want to tell the Chief Minister that he should understand this discontent and anger of the youth,” he said.

The BJP government, however, maintained that no irregularities have occurred in the recruitment process, instead it accused the Congress of misleading the people for its political gain when the Assembly elections are very close in the state.

Senior BJP leader and state Home Minister Narottam Mishra told reporters on Wednesday said that the Board (ESB) had conducted the examination on April 26 and the results were declared in May and June and the Congress is now raising the issue with eye on the state Assembly polls.

“A total 114 candidates passed the examination from that particular centre (NRI College), but the Congress talking about only seven of them. Five of them are women who have secured top ranks, I can’t understand what is problem with the Congress. They are trying to mislead the people with fake allegations,” Mishra said on Wednesday.

The board, formerly known as Vyapam, is again in the controversy a decade after the original scandal that implicated several high-profile politicians and bureaucrats in 2013. The scam that was investigated by the CBI is still under court proceedings, decisions in many cases have been pronounced, however, the main case, which is called “Ingine-Bogie” with more than 5000 accused still remained untouched.

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