BJP slams ‘divider’ Didi for questioning inclusion of Gujarati in JEE (Mains)

Mamata Banerjee, regional language, Bengali, West Bengal
West Bengal Chief Minister took to Twitter on Wednesday and raised objections as to why only Gujarati was included in JEE (Mains) and not other regional languages | PTI File

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has triggered a controversy over the inclusion of Gujarati as an optional language in the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) mains paper. The issue escalated on Thursday (November 7) as the BJP accused her of diving people in the name of language.

This comes after reports on Tuesday said that the National Testing Agency (NTA), which conducts the engineering entrance exam, has decided to drop Gujarati as medium of question papers from 2021. Subsequently, the chief minister took to Twitter on Wednesday and raised objections as to why only Gujarati was included and not other regional languages.

Also read | Why street fighter Mamata could be her own nemesis

“Joint Entrance Exams so long were conducted in English and Hindi languages. Surprisingly, now only Gujarati language has been added. Such a step is not at all praiseworthy. I love Gujarati language. But, why have other regional languages been ignored? Why injustice is being meted out to them? If Gujarati has to be there, then all regional languages including Bengali must be there,” she tweeted.

The statement issued by the National Testing Agency

The chief minister further said, “Unless this issue is decided gracefully, there will be strong protests all around as sentiments of people who speak other regional languages would be deeply hurt due to this injustice.”

Also read | Didi-Dhankhar slugfest adds to Bengal political drama

The NTA on Thursday issued a statement clarifying that besides Gujarat, no other state approached it for providing the JEE (Mains) question papers in their regional language. The Central Board of Secondary Education, which used to earlier conduct the examination, had also included Marathi and Urdu as optional languages but later dropped them.

Banerjee’s remark led to a backlash from the Bharatiya Janata Party as its national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya accused her of dividing people on a linguistic basis. “Dear Divider Didi, dividing people in the name of language is not going to multiply your votes! To set the record straight, you never requested the exam to be held in Bengali (sic),” he tweeted on Thursday.

Also read | Those living in Bengal will have to learn to speak in Bengali: Mamata

In another video post on the microblogging site, he also accused the chief minister of not focussing on the education system in the state and said that its standard has fallen.

Earlier, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani too slammed Banerjee for questioning the inclusion of Gujarati in JEE (Mains) paper. “Dear #DividerDidi, people of your state need development not such divisive stunts. Now that the facts are out, you should apologise to the people for your lies (sic),” he tweeted.