Andhra Pradesh is on the boil yet again, this time over recruitment exam for the Group-1 category posts in the state service even as the government asserted that the examination will be conducted on Sunday as per schedule.
The Andhra Pradesh Public Service Commission (APPSC) issued the first notification in 2008 for filling up 198 Group-1 posts in various departments and a supplementary notification in July 2009, but the demand for putting the examination off was raised by Telangana activists only last week.
People of Andhra-Rayalaseema regions, however, took strong exception to the demand and wanted the government to conduct the examination as per schedule.
The Group-1 examination was originally scheduled to be held on August 29 but was postponed to September 5 as it clashed with the probationary officers examination of Syndicate Bank.
APPSC chairman Y Venkatarami Reddy said on Saturday that there was no question of postponing the Group-1 examination as all necessary arrangements have been made.
"There is no room for any doubt over the conduct of the examination.It will be held as per schedule," he asserted.
Of the 1.90 lakh candidates who applied for the examination, 1.30 lakh have already downloaded their admit cards from the APPSC's website, Reddy said.
The main demand of the Telangana activists now, who remained silent all these months, is that the APPSC reserve 42 per cent of posts for people of Telangana.
The issue has once again divided the two main parties – Congress and Telugu Desam – on regional lines with leaders taking divergent stands on the conduct of Group-1 examination.
Ministers from Telangana like Komatireddy Venkata Reddy and D Sridhar Babu have already petitioned Chief Minister K Rosaiah for postponing the exam till their region's "rightful quota" was earmarked.
"It's not proper to conduct such a crucial examination in a surcharged atmosphere," Sridhar Babu said.
Congress MPs and MLAs hailing from Telangana too are exerting pressure on the Chief Minister to get the exam postponed.
Congress Central Working Committee member G Venkata Swamy is understood to have spoken to Rosaiah over phone to raise the demand for putting off the exam.
TDP's Telangana Forum convenor Nagam Janardhana Reddy, Telangana Rashtra Samiti president K Chandrasekhar Rao and the so-called Joint Action Committees of Telangana too have raised a similar demand and wanted the government to give the region its due share in Group-1 posts.
This led to strong protests from people and leaders of Andhra-Rayalaseema regions who strongly denounced the "strong-arm tactics" of the Telangana activists.
"The careers of lakhs of aspirants should not be jeopardized for narrow political gains. Each candidate prepares for months to take the examination and if it is postponed for frivolous reasons, it will strongly affect the candidates," Vijayawada MP Lagadapati Rajagopal observed.
TDP's senior MLA from Rayalaseema Payyavula Kesav and others too strongly opposed the demand for postponing the exam.
Meanwhile, students in Telangana took to streets demanding postponement of the exam while their counterparts in Andhra-Rayalaseema organised counter protests favouring conduct of the test as scheduled.
The Telangana activists also forced closure of educational institutions in the region today while a bandh has been called for Sunday.
State Director General of Police K Aravinda Rao announced that prohibitory orders under Section 144 Cr P C and also Section 30 of Police Act would be in place in the vicinity of all the 445 examination centres across the state on Sunday.
The entire examination process would be videographed and trouble-makers would be sternly dealt with.