There was significant outrage on social media recently about the JEE and NEET entrance exams that are to be conducted for students across India amidst the Coronavirus pandemic. Politicians, ‘intellectuals’ and their assorted friends in the media jumped to the occasion to foment discord in the country over the entrance exams to be conducted for admission into medical and engineering colleges.
While the speed with which the admit cards were downloaded betrayed the acceptance among students regarding the exams, sections of the political class were unwilling to abandon what they perceived to be an opportunity to corner the central government. Petitions were filed in the Court to delay the exams but the Judiciary was unwilling to consider their unjustified demands.
The interesting thing to note here is the fact that the same people who wanted the central government to delay the JEE and NEET exams were targeting the same for apparently not conducting the Railway Recruitment Boards (RRB) exams. The central government, of course, never said that the RRB exams would not be conducted but a dedicated campaign was launched to give people the impression that the BJP government at the centre was denying employment opportunities to the youth.
At the forefront of it was Priyanka Gandhi, senior leader of the Congress party. She does not want the government to conduct NEET at the decided time but at the same time, she expressed anger towards the government for not conducting the RRB exams yet.
Following in the path forged by Priyanka Gandhi, the national general secretary of NSUI, Nagesh Kariyappa, engaged in similar rhetoric. He targeted ‘Godi Media’ over its apparent silence on the NEET-JEE issue and at the same time, he remarked that the youth need jobs and not Narendra Modi’s speeches.
The National Students’ Union of India displayed the same remarkable hypocrisy, which made it amply clear that their demands to postpone the JEE-NEET was predicated solely on the electoral benefits they could reap from it.
The students’ wing of the Indian National Lokdal demonstrated the same hypocrisy. On one hand, they swore their loyalty to students of JEET-NEEt and demanded that the exams be postponed. At the same time, they wanted to know when will the dates for the RRB exams be announced.
Bhagirath Nain, vice-president of the Rashtriya Loktantrik Party, acted in similar fashion. On one hand, he demanded that the JEE-NEET exams should be postponed in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic. At the same time, he declared that students demand timely examination in case of RRB exams.
Thus, there is clear discordance in the stance adopted by the political class with regards to the conductance of exams in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic. While they demand that exams for admission into engineering and medical colleges be postponed, simultaneously, they want the RRB exam dates to be announced.
The central government has been clear regarding its position that the JEE-NEET exams could not be delayed any further. And as it so happens, dates for RRB NTPC exams have been announced. The government has announced that exams for the vacant posts will be conducted from the 15th of December. According to the Railway Ministry, the delay was due to the process of selecting a new exam conducting agency.
The JEE Mains, meanwhile, has been conducted smoothly. The JEE Advanced has been delayed only slightly and will be conducted on the 27th of September. The NEET is scheduled for the 13th of September. Through their hypocritical stand on the matter, the political class and their band of intellectuals and friends in the media have only revealed that they care very little about the welfare of students and the only thing they do care about is their electoral prospects.