The controversy over the question on caste-based quota in Madhya Pradesh Board of Secondary Education disrupted the state assembly on the second consecutive day on Wednesday with the Congress demanding action against the state education minister. The bedlam led the Chair to adjourn the House for 10 minutes during Zero Hour.
In the Class 12 Hindi examination, held on March 5, students were asked to write an essay on the dangers of caste-based reservation in India. It was one of the five topics on which students had to write 200 words. The question carried 7 marks.
The issue led to disruption of the state assembly twice on Tuesday with Congress stressing on an adjournment motion.
On Wednesday, Congress member Ramniwas Rawat sought a debate on the controversial question again. He said 21 hours had passed after their plea for bringing an adjournment motion for debate on the controversial question of Class 12.
Exam paper setter and moderator suspended
In his statement, parliamentary affairs minister Narottam Mishra said exam paper setter Vandana Vyas and moderator Santosh Swarnkar have been suspended and appropriate action has been taken on the issue. He also informed that the question had been cancelled. “As such, this issue should not be dragged further.”
Higher education minister Umashankar Gupta said the examination papers were a “confidential matter” and the Opposition was deliberately making it an issue despite government’s immediate action on it.
Congress’s Ramniwas Rawat, however, objected and said cancelling the question would affect the marks of the students.
He told reporters outside the assembly that the paper gave candidates five choices on the essay topics. “What about those students who had written on other issues. Will the government give them grace marks? This is a very serious issue. Action should be taken against the minister concerned and the senior officials in the education department,” he said.
“You (the BJP government) can’t end reservation howsoever you try,’ Rawat added.
Responding to Rawat’s barb, the parliamentary affairs minister accused the Congress of supporting anti-nationals and terrorists. “Rahul ke deshdroh se aap sehmat hai…(do you agree with Rahul Gandhi, who has been charged of sedition?).”
As the treasury and Opposition traded charges and created bedlam over the issue, the Speaker adjourned the House for 10 minutes.
After the House reassembled, Congress again raised the issue and wanted a debate on it, to which Narottam Mishra said: “It is unfortunate that none of you want to discuss the plight of farmers in the House, whose crops have been affected by hailstorm. You are just trying to politicise this paper issue.”
Meanwhile, rural development minister Gopal Bhargava said as the state government had already made a statement in the House “there should be no further discussion on the paper issue.”