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.
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. (3/4)
— Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) November 6, 2019
“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 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.”
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.
पश्चिम बंगाल की बदतर शिक्षा व्यवस्था के लिए बतौर मुखिया सिर्फ आप जिम्मेदार हैं! pic.twitter.com/7M1edZeGii
— Kailash Vijayvargiya (@KailashOnline) November 7, 2019
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.
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!https://t.co/raIJHDJQrO
— Vijay Rupani (@vijayrupanibjp) November 7, 2019
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.