Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Jaganmohan Reddy, who is often praised for implementing many "people-friendly" welfare and development schemes for the people of his state, is rated the third-best CM in the country.
However, of late, the young leader has been facing endless rebuke for his recent decision to go ahead with the SSC and intermediate exams in May, even when AP, as well as the rest of India, are in the middle of the second wave of the deadly Covid-19 pandemic.
AP has been reporting alarming Covid-19 case figures and fatalities, and the public has been left understandably unnerved and shaken by this.
The CBSE, like many state governments, has postponed/cancelled the examinations for tenth and twelfth graders this year, keeping in mind the seriousness of the pandemic. Some states have even declared total lockdowns. AP itself has implemented a night curfew and various other restrictions to prevent large congregations and social events.
In this context, many, including JSP chief Pawan Kalyan, have been quite vocal about their belief that the CM's decision regarding the exams is "unwise", "irresponsible", "unwarranted" and one that may endanger the lives of many students, their guardians, teachers, and other school employees.
Recently, Kalyan had even openly flayed
the state government for deciding to go ahead with the exams amidst the second wave.
The questions raised by the Telangana High Court yesterday about the municipal polls in the state are equally applicable to the exams in AP, many feel. They have pointed out that just as the HC, expressing concern that the voting booths could be "super-spreaders"
of Covid-19, had asked what the great hurry to hold the elections was, it was pertinent to ask what the hurry or need to hold the exams at this point was. Further, they add, exam halls too can become super-spreaders.
Some have reportedly also been wondering whether the exams are more important than the lives of students. They feel that it is not too late even now for the Jagan government to revise its decision, which will ease the minds of the already-troubled students.
However, Jagan seems intent to hold the intermediate exams from May 5 to 19 and the class ten exams from June 7 to 14. Yesterday, he defended the decision
that the cancellation would harm the future of students greatly, and even rued the fact that he was being "targeted" by his political rivals over a decision taken for the welfare of the students.
The CM's stand may soon change though since the AP High Court today directed the state government to reconsider its decision to hold the exams.
As petitions seeking the cancellation of the same were being heard, the court pointed out that the students and their guardians were agitated about the decision in view of the rapid spread of Covid-19 in the state, and that many neighbouring states had put off the exams for the same reason as well.
The next hearing on the matter has been scheduled for May 3.