The Election Commission cancelled exams in UP which Akhilesh slotted for April
New Delhi : The Election Commission on Saturday shot down Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav’s plan to force the Assembly elections in April by declaring that the school examinations will take place in February and March.
Exercising its inherent powers, the EC cancelled the Class 10 and 12 exams fixed by the U.P. Secondary Education Board on Thursday from February 16 and directed it to declare the new schedule only after a prior approval of the state’s chief electoral officer (CEO).
The EC’s decision indicates that it is all set to hold the Assembly elections in February in all five states — Uttar Pradesh as well as in Punjab, Goa, Manipur, and Uttarakhand — as such it does not want the school exams to derail its plan.
The new dates of the UP board examinations may not be announced anytime soon until and unless the EC declares the poll schedule or indicates it to the CEO in Lucknow to give his nod for the exams not clashing with the elections.
The EC frowned at the UP Board trying to defy its directive not to fix the exam dates without its clearance, despite its press note on Thursday that it wants that “there is no clash between the programmes of elections which are to be conducted to the legislative assembly of the states and the examination schedules that may be framed by various state education boards.” The board declared the exam dates on the same day the EC issued the press note.
The EC sources said the commission had clearly stated in the Press note that it is “in an advanced stage of considering a suitable schedule” for holding the elections to the legislative assemblies in five states.The Representation of People Act (RPA) empowers it to hold the elections “at any time within a period of six months before the scheduled expiration of the term of the state legislative assembly.”
In any case, the term of the assemblies in four states, except U.P., is ending in March, necessitating the polls in February. The UP Assembly’s tenure is up to May 27.
The exam schedule cancelled by the EC had envisaged Class X and XII board exams start simultaneously from February 16 to go on until March 6 and 20 respectively.
The EC officials said the exams and the polls can not go on at the same time as the EC requires schools as most of its polling booths and the school teachers to man the booths.