AMID THE political row over six questions on the Congress in the Class XII Political Science exam of the Rajasthan Board of Secondary Education (RBSE) held last week, the Union Ministry of Education on Monday sought a response from the Ashok Gehlot-led Congress government in the state.
The Centre’s Department of School Education and Literacy has written to the Rajasthan Additional Chief Secretary (School Education), attaching a news clipping on the issue. In its communication, the ministry referred to media reports on the question paper, “which is self explanatory”. “Request that the comments/ inputs of the state government on the news item may please be sent to this department,” it said.
Pawan Kumar Goyal, Additional Chief Secretary in the Rajasthan government’s School Education Department, did not respond to calls or text messages.
An officer in the Union Education Ministry described the intervention as “routine”, adding that the Centre has only sought information and “it should not be perceived to be anything more than that”. However, such interventions on state board exams, which come under the purview of the state governments, are rare.
After the exam on April 21, the BJP had accused the Congress government of “politicising education”. The questions on the Congress included: “Discuss in brief the Congress as a social and ideological alliance”; “Which party dominated the first three general elections in India?”; “How many seats did the Congress win in the 1984 Lok Sabha election?”; “Who gave the slogan ‘garibi hatao’?”; “The general election of 1971 proved to be an election for restoration of Congress. Explain the statement.”; “Under what circumstances did the Congress contest the 1967 General Election and what mandate did it get? Explain”.
RBSE Public Relations Officer Rajendra Gupta had said question paper was made as per the NCERT syllabus and a panel of experts had prepared it. The NCERT Class XII Political Science textbook — Politics in India since Independence — has two chapters dealing with the Congress: “Era of one-party dominance” and “Challenges to and restoration of the Congress system”.