The question paper leakage that rocked the Telangana State Public Service Commission (TSPSC) this week has snowballed into a huge political row with the opposition parties taking to the streets to demand high-level probe.
Terming the question paper leak Telangana’s “Vyapam”, the opposition parties and the student and youth organizations affiliated to them have been staging protests across the state to demand investigation by either a sitting judge or by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and resignation of the TSPSC Chairman.
Looking to take political mileage from the issue in the run-up to the Assembly elections scheduled later this year, opposition BJP has targeted Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao and his family.
After a series of protests by student and youth groups over the last three days, BJP state chief Bandi Sanjay and his supporters came out on streets in Hyderabad on Friday to demand a probe by the sitting judge of the High Court.
Dramatic scenes were witnessed near the Assembly building in the heart of the state capital when Sanjay and other BJP leaders sat on a protest at Telangana Martyrs’ Memorial in Gun Park.
Sanjay, who led a rally from BJP office to Gun Park, trained guns on the CM’s family and demanded that he dismiss his son and cabinet minister K.T. Rama Rao.
He alleged that the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) government constituted a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to shield the culprits in the case.
Police detained Sanjay, BJP MLA Eatala Rajender and other leaders when they tried to march towards the TSPSC office.
Police also arrested BSP’s Telangana unit president R.S. Praveen Kumar when he began a hunger strike at the party office to demand a CBI inquiry into the paper leak.
Praveen Kumar later sat on hunger strike at his residence. He, however, ended the hunger strike in the evening following the decision of TSPSC to cancel three exams.
Police also arrested Youth Congress leaders and workers when they tried to march to the TSPSC office from Congress headquarters Gandhi Bhavan.
The Commission on Friday to cancel Group I Prelims conducted on October 16, 2022. Nearly 2.86 lakh aspirants of Group I posts had appeared in the exam across the state.
The examinations held for recruitment of Assistant Executive Engineer (AEE) on January 22 and for Divisional Accounts Officer (DAO) on February 26 have also been cancelled.
The TSPSC had conducted the examination on March 5 for 833 vacancies of Assistant Engineer, Municipal Assistant Engineer, Technical Officer, and Junior Technical Officer in various engineering departments. A total of 55,000 candidates had written the exam.
However, the Commission suspected leakage of the question paper and lodged a complaint with the police.
On March 13, police arrested nine people including two employees of the TSPSC.
Following the arrest of the accused, the Commission had cancelled the exam and also postponed other exams scheduled to be held later this month.
Telangana Congress President Revanth Reddy has also demanded a probe by a sitting judge. He alleged that every exam conducted by the TSPSC in the past eight years reeked of corruption and this flew in the face of the commitment made by the ruling party during Telangana movement to conduct job tests in a transparent manner.
The BRS and the BJP have been blaming each other for the paper leak. While the BJP alleged that key accused P. Praveen Kumar, an employee of the TSPSC, has links with the BRS, the ruling party leaders posted on social media photographs of second accused Atla Rajasekhar Reddy, also an employee of the TSPSC, with BJP leaders.
The BRS has alleged that the paper leak case is a conspiracy by the BJP to defame the ruling party.
BRS working president and state minister K.T. Rama Rao on Friday hit back at BJP leader Sanjay for his allegations. He said that Sanjay made baseless allegations on the state government without knowing the fact that the TSPSC is a constitutional body and the state government has a limited role to play in it.
KTR remarked that BJP is trying to create unrest among the unemployed youth by attributing the mistake made by one individual to the entire TSPSC. He recalled that it was Bandi Sanjay who appealed to the youth to leave jobs and stop preparing for exams to campaign for the BJP.
He noted that there are numerous instances of paper leaks in various BJP ruled states and BJP has no moral right to question BRS government’s commitment for the unemployed. “In 8 years, 13 question papers were leaked in Modi’s state Gujarat. Does Bandi Sanjay have the guts to ask for Modi’s resignation,” questioned KTR.
“When any issue happens, how the government reacts is important,” he said, noting that as soon as the paper leak issue came out, the state government acted swiftly, constituted a SIT, and arrested all the accused.
KTR said that though the incident was unfortunate, keeping in mind the future of all the eligible candidates and to deliver justice, the TSPSC has cancelled the Group-1 prelims exams.
He appealed to the youth and students of Telangana that there is no need to worry about recruitment. He assured that the BRS government will take all kinds of measures to ensure justice to each and every unemployed youth in the state.
He said that Sanjay resorted to a similar type of baseless personal allegation earlier with regards to intermediate examinations without having minimum awareness on the functioning of government wings. He warned that Sanjay would have to face criminal cases in the future for his politically-motivated conspiracies and urged the BJP to stop politicising the issue for their selfish gains.