The competitive exam paper leak has put the BJP in a position among the youth voters | Rare Techy


“Exam cancellation gives more time to unprepared students,” says Karthik Chaudhary, justifying the regular cancellation of competitive exams conducted by the Gujarat government. But his justification is scoffed at the next moment by his friends over tea at a tea stall behind a clutch of coaching institutes in Sector 6 of Gujarat’s capital, Gandhinagar. A government job aspirant, Karthik is associated with the BJP.

As Gujarat’s 182 assembly seats go to polls on December 1 and 5, a string of exam paper cancellations — estimated by opposition parties at between 15 and 22 — has become a major talking point among the state’s unemployed youth. In the last five years, examinations for posts such as non-secretariat clerk, head clerk, constable, talathi, or village revenue officer, forest guard have been canceled due to leakages or administrative irregularities — all Group 3 jobs, the lowest but one set of government jobs. Out of total 4.9 crore voters in Gujarat, 1.03 crore are in the age group of 20-29.

There are many coaching institutes in Sector 6. They cater to thousands of students mainly from farming families seeking government jobs. Students do not tolerate the frequent leakage of examination papers.

Distressed, some of them talk of “change” in the government, while others feel helpless that “everybody knows they will win the election”.

“Change is needed. It is the only consistency,” says Vipul Chaudhary from Patan district, who is preparing for Group 3 job exams. But Gujarat has been left out of this routine as the BJP has ruled the state for the last 27 years except for one year.

Students say they spend at least Rs 1.5-2 lakh annually on tuition, rent and food. A friend of mine was in tears when the constable exam paper was leaked in 2018. I had to go back to his village as I could not live in the city much longer. As he had no money for lunch and dinner, he ate only Parle G biscuits. Students preparing for Group 3 job exams are mostly from lower middle class families. So the stakes are very high for such students,” says Praveena Gadhavi, who lives in Gandhinagar and has attempted all Group 3 exams.

Will this issue have any impact on the election? “Why? The youth, who have been preparing all year, have been taken for a ride. We should make our voices heard through our votes. This government is leaking, the system is broken,” she says.

Students say some of the exams, which have been pending for three to five years, were held just before the elections. “Exams have become five-year plans. “The government announces recruitment only when elections are around the corner,” says Paresh Chaudhary, a student at Mehsana.

Gujarat Subordinate Service Selection Board or GSSSB has issued notification for the recruitment of Non-Secretariat Clerks 2018. After three cancellations due to leaks and administrative roadblocks, the GSSSB conducted and passed the exam in the fourth attempt in April 2022. Merit list for 3,901 posts promised appointment letter to successful candidates after election. More than 10 lakh students have registered for the exam.

Aam Aadmi’s star campaigner and Yuvraj Sinh Jadeja, who has led several protests against the exam paper leak, says the notification for Talati was issued in 2018 and the exam for that is yet to be held. 32 lakh students applied in 2018. The BJP government could not conduct the exam as the number was huge. Then came covid and the government shelved the practice. Now around 19 lakh candidates applied for exam date 2022. “These figures show that a large number of youths are unemployed,” he says. He claimed that the state government has raised the minimum educational qualification for Group 3 posts from 12th to graduation. “By raising the bar for lower posts, the BJP wants to show that there are fewer unemployed youth in the state,” he claims.

According to the Delhi-based Center for the Study of Developing Societies, 41 percent of Gujarat’s youth are dissatisfied with the BJP government for not protecting their interests, followed by traders (40 percent) and farmers (39). percent) and women (36 percent). Before the 2017 assembly elections, the share of disaffected youth was around 40 percent.

At the same time, October figures from the Center for Monitoring the Indian Economy show that Gujarat has the lowest unemployment rate in India – 1.7 percent against the national average of 7.7 percent. The highest unemployment rate since 2020 was recorded at 18.7 percent in April that year — at the start of the Covid pandemic.

The Gujarat government has conducted one round of recruitment for school teachers in the last five years. Prior to 2017, recruitment was held once in two-three years. This is the situation when there are 19,000 school teacher posts lying vacant in the state,” laments Prateek Chaudhary of Mehsana, who is preparing for Clerk and Talati exams.

Betting on AAP?

The entry of the Aam Aadmi Party has turned the Gujarat elections into a three-cornered contest. What do students make of it? “AAP has promised to conduct job recruitment exams smoothly and regularly. It has affected some students,” says Vishal Chaudhary, a student from Patan district.

Haresh Chaudhary, a student from Banaskantha district, says he believes in straight talk. “There is anger among the youth. Is it enough to influence youth voting behavior? Who you vote for depends on multiple factors such as the candidate’s caste and equation with constituents. Exam paper leak may be a big problem for the youth but we all know who will win the election. That’s why I don’t go home and focus on the upcoming Talati exam,” he says.

AAP has promised Rs 3,000 per month to unemployed youth. It has also promised to hire one lakh applicants for government jobs within five years.

The Congress has also made promises like recruitment to 10 lakh government posts and an inquiry into the paper leak. “First, there have been no exams for years. Even if they do, the paper leaks. At least 22 exam papers have been leaked in the last five years. BJP has destroyed the dream of lakhs of students. Once voted into power, we will ensure a fool-proof system to prevent paper leaks and bring key criminals to justice. Only small fry have been arrested so far,” says Gujarat Congress spokesperson Hiren Banker. He likened the repeated examination paper leaks to the Vyapam scam in Madhya Pradesh.


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