Maharashtra: Govt blinks, MPSC exam deferred

A major face-off between the Shiv Sena led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government and Maratha organisations was averted, after the former postponed the Maharashtra Public Service Commission (MPSC) exam slated for Sunday. The decision was taken after a marathon virtual meeting on Friday evening between Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, his deputy Ajit Pawar, Public Works Minister Ashok Chavan and Water Resources Minister Jayant Patil and the representatives of various Maratha organisations.

A record 2.60 lakh aspirants were to appear for the MPSC exam on Sunday, for 200 government posts.

The state government was forced to defer the exam in view of the aggressive position taken by various Maratha organisations, who argued that the exam was ill-timed, considering the rising coronavirus cases in the state. Unwilling to risk being targeted by its opponents on the subject, the government ceded ground. The move was also an attempt to placate the Marathas, who are perturbed by the Supreme Court's interim stay on the 12 per cent quota in education and 13 per cent in government jobs under the Socially and Educationally Backward Classes Act, 2018.

CM Thackeray said that the MPSC exams had been deferred twice because of the Covid-19 crisis. ‘‘The government received representations from Maratha organisations and also from students that the exam scheduled for Sunday be deferred. Some students are infected while others urged the state government to postpone the exam as they needed more time to prepare.’’ He clarified that all those aspirants who would have appeared on October 11 will be eligible to take the test after the government announces a new date.

Rajya Sabha members Chhatrapati Sambhaji Raje and Chhatrapati Udayanraje Bhosale, at the forefront of the demand for the postponement of the exam, had warned that were the government to insist on holding the exam it was likely to face the wrath of the Maratha community. Sambhaji Raje had questioned why the government was so eager to push for the MPSC exam when it had yet to complete recruitment of the 420 candidates who had passed similar tests in the past.

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