Slamming the Election Commission for holding bypolls to Asansol Lok Sabha seat and Ballygunge assembly constituency during the Class 12 West Bengal board examinations, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday said the higher secondary tests had to be rescheduled due to this. She also accused the EC of working at the behest of the BJP and not considering the state board exams while announcing the date for bypolls. The schedule for the Class 12 state board examinations, which were supposed to be held between April 2 and 26, was revised, Banerjee said, adding that the tests will now end on April 27.
There will be “no examination from April 6 to 15” as the bypolls will be held on April 12 and votes counted on April 16. The first language test will be held on April 2 and the second language on April 4, Banerjee said. The vocational examinations of higher secondary will be held on April 5.
“The EC does not give importance to by-elections and works at the behest of the BJP. As the date for bypolls was announced, the central forces would start arriving soon. They will stay at several school buildings where polling booths will also be set up. Many of these educational facilities would also be used for HS examination centres. So, we have to rework dates of the tests. I apologise to the students and the parents as well,” Banerjee said.
She also asked why the bypolls to the two seats were not conducted along with the recent assembly elections in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Goa, Manipur and Uttarakhand. “Had the byelections been conducted along with the recent assembly elections in the five states, students would not have to face this problem,” she said.
Banerjee said the chief secretary had written to the EC on this issue, but the poll body had said it would hold byelections within six months after the seats fell vacant. “They might be correct, but they should have announced the date keeping in mind the board exam schedule,” the CM said, adding that “the timing of the by-elections is also coinciding with a few festivals and Bengali new year”.
“The EC should have checked with the examination routine. We have to see everything so that the HS test dates are not overlapped with the Joint Entrance Examinations,” she said. Notably, the West Bengal Council for Higher Secondary Education had revised some of its Class 12 exam dates as they were coinciding with the JEE (Main).