Assam is witnessing an uproar over the alleged selection of relatives of leaders connected to the ruling BJP for jobs in Panchayat and Rural Development (P&RD) department. The results to the recruitment test for over 900 posts were published on March 5 and details of posting were out the next morning.
Activist Akhil Gogoi Friday alleged that among the selected were numerous relatives of people connected to the BJP-RSS. Soon, Opposition leaders targeted the Sarbananda Sonowal government. Late on Friday, Sonowal ordered an inquiry.
“Taking a suo motu cognizance of the reported controversy, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal ordered formation of a one man inquiry by Additional Chief Secretary Jishnu Baruah to inquire into the whole episode and submit report to the government at the earliest,” a press statement from the CMO said.
On Saturday, senior Congress leader Tarun Gogoi demanded a CBI inquiry into the matter.
This is not the first time this recruitment drive has run into controversy.
The combined competitive examination was held on May 20, 2018. According to a complaint registered by a joint director of the department with the CID, mobile phones were used unauthorisedly inside the examination hall.
Even as the CID investigation continued, an appeal was filed in Gauhati High Court, seeking cancellation of the examination. In an order dated January 7, the court said results of the examination could be published — lifting a stay put in July last year. However, the order noted, “The state will be at liberty to make appointment on the basis of said select list subject to the result of this petition as well as the investigation.”
In the high court, the state had said anomalies were reported only at Rangia centre. But a tentative CID report dated February 7 noted that anomalies occurred in 18 centres.
Gogoi, who leads Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti, told The Indian Express, “Should the government have not waited before publishing the results even as the CID found anomaly in not one centre but 18?”
Naba Kumar Doley, Minister of State with Independent charge of P&RD department, said, “The results of those 18 centres reported by the CID have been withheld. We had decided that we will go as per the CID investigation’s complete report and the high court order.”
“Examinations were held for over 900 posts and there were over 1.7 lakh aspirants. If someone with my surname or a related surname gets selected, does that mean he or she is my relative? Can’t the relatives of BJP leaders and workers be intelligent and crack the exams?,” said Doley.
Dr J B Ekka, Principal Secretary, P&RD Department, said, “The CID is inquiring into allegations of mobile phone use. The new one-man inquiry will look into results and appointments, whether the selected candidates have come through merit or not.”
“The irregularities that took place in the P&RD recruitment where supporters & relatives of BJP leaders got selected for jobs defying the Govt norms exposes CM Sarbananda Sonowal’s hollow slogan of zero tolerance on corruption,” tweeted former CM Tarun Gogoi.