Telangana paper leaks: Opposition taps youth angst to target KCR

Significantly, the state has about 30 lakh job aspirants and they are all voters in the age group of 18-44

tspsc protest by bjp
The BJP organised a Nirudyoga March in Hanmakonda last week which attracted a huge crowd despite restrictions imposed by the police. Image: Twitter/@bandisanjay_bjp

Distraught over a series of question paper leaks, Telangana’s unemployed are at the centre of the ongoing slugfest between the ruling Bharat Rashtra Samiti (BRS) and the Opposition parties in the state. For the first time, the K Chandrashekar Rao (KCR) government finds itself on a sticky wicket and the Opposition doesn’t want to miss out on this opportunity.

Significantly, the state has about 30 lakh job aspirants and they are all voters in the age group of 18-44. Along with their parents or family members (if family size is taken as 3 or 4) they form a single community of about one crore voters, bigger than any caste group in the state and constitute one-third of the total 3.09 crore electorate.

Also read: Telangana: Why TSPSC question paper leak is a bolt from the blue for job aspirants

Threat for KCR?


Bound by a common grievance, will these victims of the Telangana State Public Service Commission (TSPSC) coalesce into an aggressive anti-establishment block and pose a threat to the BRS government in the coming Telangana assembly elections scheduled for December?

Congress, BJP, BSP, Telangana Jana Samiti (TJS) members, and several political observers believe so. They are making a serious attempt to transform the discontent among the TSPSC job aspirants into a fierce anti-KCR vote block.

They want to fight the next election on the issue of unemployment and question paper leaks while targeting Chief Minister KCR’s family. All the members of the commission are linked to the state’s first family in one way or the other, they allege. An Opposition leader alleged that a person who was convicted in a question paper leak case earlier was also appointed member of the TSPSC.

In the normal course, the undelivered promise on employment would not have bearing on the election. This was evident in the 2018 election, where the TRS (now BRS) returned to power with a bigger majority despite the agitations by the Opposition and the unemployed against the KCR government’s failure to fill the government vacancies in his first stint.

Anger among jobless

But this time round, many believe, it is not the unkept electoral promise, but the anger against the instances of paper leakage which shattered the youth’s dreams that matters.

The Opposition parties are busy organising rallies in support of the ‘victims’ of TSPSC. They are out to convince people that the leak is not an isolated crime committed by a greedy employee but a well-orchestrated conspiracy by politicians close to the power centre and fair conduct of exams is not possible as long as the present team of commands the TSPSC.

They are demanding the dismissal of TSPSC chairman, secretary and its members, apart from a compensation of  Rs 1 lakh to all those who appeared for exams cancelled by the TSPSC, and the institution of a judicial probe by a sitting high court judge or CBI.

Also read: ‘KCR will pay heavily for his sins’: BJP gen sec after Telangana police detain Bandi Sanjay

Opposition cashing in

The BJP organised a Nirudyoga March in Hanmakonda last week which attracted a huge crowd despite restrictions imposed by the police. The party is now planning similar rallies with victims of TSPSC in every district. Telangana Congress is planning to bring in party leader Priyanka Gandhi to address its rally. Though the first rally planned in Nalgonda on April 21 was cancelled due to some internal differences, teh Congress is gearing up its machinery for a show in Hyderabad next month.

The Congress, BSP, CPI-ML, Lok Satta, AAP etc have decided to launch a joint agitation. TJS president Prof M Kodanda Ram said the agitation will be intensified, if the government did not concede to their demands in a week. YSR Telangana party leader YS Sharmila urged Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan to recommend the dissolution of the TSPSC body under Article 317 as it has lost the faith of the unemployed.

Keeping them busy

The government on its part is trying to make the job aspirants unavailable to the Opposition parties. The TSPSC has been asked to release the dates of revised exams that were cancelled earlier ostensibly to keep the unemployed tied to exam preparation. A few more notifications are expected soon. A decision to regularise the contract employees is also likely to be taken.

Also read: Worried about BJP’s growing clout, TRS may advance polls in Telangana

The TSPSC had cancelled the exams on March 15 following a preliminary inquiry’s finding that question paper leaks did take place. The government appointed a special investigation team (SIT) to probe the scandal. The leak surfaced on March 11, 2023, when an anonymous caller alerted police through Dial 100.

It is alleged that question papers of 15 exams were leaked.  More than a month into the probe, there has been no reshuffle in the TSPSC administration. Now, the same team will oversee the rescheduled exams in May and June.

The job aspirants are seething with anger over the hasty release of the revised exam schedule. “Their agony is that their eight-year-long wait, money spent on coaching centres and books, and the living expenses along with gruelling preparation have gone down the drain. Now, they want us to write the fresh exams for no fault of ours,” said Dr Burgula Anitha, who cracked the Group-1 Prelims earlier. What’s the compensation for the innocent victims of TSPSC, asked Anitha, a lecturer in a private college.

Channelising anger

Since the government job is the collective dream of the family fostered by the Telangana movement, parents are terribly upset by the question paper leak.

Employment (niyamakalu) is one of the three premises that shaped 14-year-long Telangana movement launched by KCR in 2001, the other two being water (neellu) and funds (nidhulu).

Also read: Why Bandi Sanjay Kumar is BJP’s answer to KCR’s clout in Telangana

The Opposition parties are planning to channel this anger in their favour. The man at the forefront of the campaign against CM KCR and IT minister KT Ramara is Dr Praveen Kumar, an IPS officer who quit the job to head the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) in the state.

Dr Praveen, who earlier held prestigious positions in government, says he has all evidence to fix the KCR’s near and dear ones but would submit the evidence only when the investigation is headed by Supreme Court Judge or CBI. Dr Praveen has launched a campaign Nirudyogulaku Bharosa (assurance to unemployed) to expose the connection between the CM’s family and the TSPSC scandal.

“Had it not for the anonymous caller, the leakage would have continued unchecked at the cost of the poor and hardworking genuine job aspirants,” he said. He wondered why TSPSC chairman Dr Janardhan Reddy had not been removed. “Without his complicity, it is difficult to steal confidential data stored in stand-alone computers. It clearly indicates that he had worked at the behest of some influential people and they are protecting him,” he said. However, CM KCR has been unpredictably silent on his next move.