MUMBAI: Given the current situation of COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown for two months, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) President Raj Thackeray on Tuesday raised questions on Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari's insistence on holding the final year university exam in the state.
"Why is there this unreasonable demand to hold the final year examinations? Why and for who?" Thackeray pointedly asked the Governor in a letter.
The MNS chief detailed how the coronavirus pandemic has led to an unprecedented national upheaval followed by the lockdown, and given the present turbulent scenario, it was impossible to ascertain how long the shutdown will continue, especially in Mumbai and Pune.
"If, even the lockdown is eased, does that mean we are free from the coronavirus? Of course not! You too are aware of this," Thackeray said, seeking the reasons why the Governor wanted to hold the varsity exams.
He wrote that considering the prevailing circumstances besides the fact that the coronavirus is dangerous and highly infectious, "is it reasonable to ask so many students to step out and set for these exams? Are they not putting their and their families' lives at risk?"
"What is the logic behind this? Keeping the health of the students in mind, why shouldn't the decision be taken to cancel the final year exams in totality?" Thackeray urged the Governor.
The surprise intervention by the MNS chief came as the Maha Vikas Aghadi government reeled under a missive by the Governor last week raising, strong objections to a letter by Minister of Higher & Technical Education Uday Samant to the UGC recommending cancellation of the final year varsity exams, which Koshyari - in his capacity as Chancellor of all universities in the state - pointed out, contravened the guidelines.
The Governor made his displeasure clear in a letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray as the embarrassed government attempted to combat the crisis - before Raj Thackeray's unexpected booster dose on Tuesday.
However, the MNS leader also said that his plea did not tantamount to indiscriminately declare all the students as 'pass', but suggested that their passing could be based on their performance in internal exams or the previous semester, or try to evaluate them by giving projects, or some such practical solutions.