Trinamool MP Abhishek Banerjee had raised the issue on September 19, the day National Testing Agency (NTA) had released the exam schedule. On Sunday, state education minister Partha Chatterjee had written to NTA, seeking postponement of the exams. Speaking in Rajya Sabha on Sunday, MP Dinesh Trivedi had also urged the Centre to defer the exams. The Rajya Sabha chairperson had asked Union minister Prakash Javadekar, who was present in the House, to assist Trivedi to meet Union education minister Ramesh Pokhriyal.
“I met the education minister in Parliament. He told me exams on the three Puja dates will be deferred and the new dates will be announced soon,” Trivedi told TOI.
Not to be left behind, the state BJP also took to Twitter to announce: “As a mark of respect towards Bengali culture and heritage, Modi Govt has directed NTA to revise UGC-NET dates to prevent any clash with Durga Puja days. New dates will be notified soon.”
The NET exams are scheduled to be held in phases from September 24 to November 5. Exams were scheduled on seven days next month — October 1, 7, 9, 17, 21, 22 and 23. While geography was scheduled on October 21 (Panchami), Bengali was among nine language papers scheduled on October 22 (Shasthi). The Hindi exam was scheduled on October 23 (Saptami).
Speaking to reporters on Sunday, Chatterjee had said: “Durga Puja is the biggest festival in Bengal. It is a national festival. How can they fix the date on the day of puja? We voice our objection. We will write to NTA to change the schedule that clashes with the Puja.” He added that it was ironic that those who were always enthusiastic about pujas were indifferent towards the biggest social and religious festival of Bengal. On Monday, Chatterjee said: “The examinations on the three Durga Puja dates have been deferred by NTA. The new dates will be announced soon.”
Trinamool Congress had earlier also opposed the Centre’s decision to conduct JEE (Mains) and NEET (UG) examinations in September. The Bengal law minister Moloy Ghatak, along with ministers of five other opposition-ruled states, had also moved the apex court seeking a review.