Politicians pour in to provide moral support to GSSSB candidates

Candidates demand that the controversy-riddled exam be cancelled even as state forms SIT.

Ahmedabad/Gandhinagar: Even as #savegujaratstudents trended on Twitter, politicians threw in their lot with protesting GSSSB (Gujarat State Subordinate Service Board) candidates as they thronged the streets of Gandhinagar on Thursday.

Former chief minister Shankarsinh Vaghela, Patidar leader Hardik Patel, Congress chief Amit Chavda and Rakjot Congress worker Naynaba Jadeja were among those who arrived in the state capital to provide moral support to the protesters.

For the past two days, thousands of aspirants have gathered in Gandhinagar demanding that the GSSSB’s recruitment exam for non-secretariat clerks held in November be invalidated due to “irregularities” brought to light by the Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC), which also provided CCTV footage of candidates cheating.

Naynaba said, “I am here for moral support. I heard they are protesting without shelter, water and food. I couldn’t resist myself and came as a human being. I am aware the kind of the plight they are going through. We were not born with silver spoons in our mouths.” Naynaba is the sister in-law of BJP MP Rivaba Jadeja.

On Thursday, the state government announced the formation of a Special Investigative Team (SIT) to investigate the matter. However, students were not placated, and continued to demand that the exam be considered cancelled.

Announcing the four-member SIT, Home Minister Pradipsinh Jadeja told media the team will submit its report in 10 days. Additional secretary Kamal Dayani was appointed SIT chairman, while Manoj Shashidharan, Mayanksinh Chavda and Jwalant Trivedi were appointed as members. This committee will investigate claims of paper leaks, copy cases, irregularities using CCTV footage if needed. Jadeja said the SIT will hear written and oral presentations from the candidates, and might take help from the Directorate of Forensic Sciences (DFS) and other state departments. The result of the GSSSB exam will be withheld until the SIT submits its report.

At the end of the day on Thursday, the agitators were split in two different groups. Their leader, Yuvrajsinh Jadeja told media, “We will not allow any politician in the SIT. Though the GSSSB chairman Asit Vora claims that they will declare result, we will not accept that. We will fight for justice.” However, he was one of only a few who stayed to demand cancellation of the exam.

Additionally, members of National Student Union of India (NSUI) were detained early on Thursday morning, on their way to meet and gherao GSSSB chairman Asit Vora.

“I have seen my sister travelling great distances by bus to take exams, only to find out the exam was cancelled. Today, I have seen many students and wondering how they could have make it here. They don’t seem to be from well-to-do families; their only hope is to get a government job,” Naynaba also said, adding, “The students are ready to re-take the exam. The government must listen to them. It is shameful that no one from the ruling party is standing with the students. This is not a political issue.”

Meanwhile, agitators took a break from their protest to greet Hardik Patel with chants of “Go Back Hardik.”

Tricky SIT-uation

Additional secretary Kamal Dayani was appointed SIT chairman, while Manoj Shashidharan, Mayanksinh Chavda and Jwalant Trivedi were appointed as members. This committee will investigate claims of paper leaks, copy cases, irregularities using CCTV footage if needed. Jadeja said the SIT will hear written and oral presentations from the candidates, and might take help from the Directorate of Forensic Sciences (DFS) and other state departments. The result of the GSSSB exam will be withheld until the SIT submits its report. However, students were not placated, and continued to demand that the exam be considered cancelled.