Union Education Minister Dr Ramesh Pokhriyal on Wednesday fact-checked his own party colleague BJP MP Subramanian Swamy after the senior leader took to social media to put misleading numbers pertaining to the total number of students who had attended the recently held JEE exams.
Earlier on Wednesday, BJP Rajya Sabha MP Subramanian Swamy on Twitter had claimed that only 8 lakh students out of the 18 lakh who had downloaded the JEE admit card actually appeared for the exam.
The senior BJP leader, who was advocating for the postponement of the NEET-JEE examination for the last few weeks, said that the decision to conduct JEE exams was a disgrace for the nation that extolled ‘Vidhya and Gyan’.
I just accurate count on how many students took the JEE exams this last week: out 18 lakhs who down loaded passes only 8 lakhs turned up to take up the exam. What a disgrace for the nation which extols vidhya and gyan!!— Subramanian Swamy (@Swamy39) September 9, 2020
Responding to the claims made by Subramanian Swamy, the Union Minister for Education Dr Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank placed some facts pertaining to the recently held JEE exams. The Union Minister said that the number of applicants were 8.58 lakhs and not 18 lakhs as Swamy suggested.
Dr. @Swamy39 Ji, I would like to place some facts on the record regarding #JEE(Main) exams.— Dr. Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank (@DrRPNishank) September 9, 2020
The number of applicants for #JEEMains stands at 8.58 lakhs, not 18 lakhs as you tweeted. https://t.co/e9hQLRFIs4
The Minister said that out of the 8.58 lakh JEE Mains applicants, nearly 6.35 lakhs had appeared for the exam. He added that both the central and respective state governments assured all possible assistance to the students. This entire effort displayed the spirit of cooperative federalism, the Education Minister added.
#JEEMains Exams are held twice in a year. The previous one was held in January this year. Several students who didn’t appear for the exam in Sept may have done well in the January exam hence did not feel the need to sit for the exam this time. We are ascertaining those numbers.— Dr. Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank (@DrRPNishank) September 9, 2020
Rejecting the claims of low attendance during the JEE exams, the Union Minister added that the JEE exams are held twice in a year. Dr Pokriyal pointed out that several students who did not appear for the exam in September may have done well in the January exam hence may not have to sit for the exam held recently.
“We are ascertaining those numbers,” the minister said adding that any further delay in the exams would not have been in the interest of students and their plans for college admissions.
Explaining the rationale for holding exams amidst the pandemic, Dr Pokhriyal said, “Any further delay of the exams would not have been in the interest of our hardworking students and their plans for college admissions. Our NDA Government has always been unwavering regarding student welfare and student safety. We will always work for the interests of our youth.”
Swami shifts goalposts when fact-checked
After getting fact-checked by the Education minister, Subramanian Swamy changed tracks. He then claimed that the the number of JEE applicants mentioned by the ministry in court and mentioned by the minister in his reply were different.
Without bothering to explain why he had claimed the number 18 lakhs, that is more than twice the original number, Swamy stated that the Education Minister’s statement that the number of applicants for JEE was 8.5 lakhs did not match with what the ministry had submitted at the Supreme Court.
The JEE Mains 2020 examination was conducted by the National Testing Agency from September 1 to 6, 2020, at various centres across the country. The tentative date for the declaration of result is September 11.