West Bengal Board of Primary Education said those whose names figure on the list are genuine candidates
The quote, ‘What’s in a name?’, from the Shakespearean play Romeo and Juliet, suggests that the naming of persons or objects is irrelevant. However, one is bound to be surprised to notice that the list of candidates who have qualified for school teaching jobs in West Bengal bears several names that are similar to that of prominent political personalities – right from the state’s Chief Minister to the Union Home Minister.
Names such as Mamata Banerjee, Dilip Ghosh, Sujan Chakraborty and Suvendu Adhikari have featured on the teachers’ recruitment list, though according to West Bengal Board of Primary Education (WBBPE), these are not the well-known politicians, but candidates who have cleared Teacher Eligibility Test (TET) and any resemblance is purely coincidental.
The names came to light last Friday after the board released the marks of the successful candidates who took the test in 2014.
An Amit Shah has also made it to the list of those who qualified for teaching jobs in Bengal’s state-run schools.
Teachers’ recruitment is a burning topic in Bengal politics now, with ongoing protests by candidates who claim that they were denied recruitment while jobs were sold to undeserving candidates for money.
Opposition BJP was quick to latch on to it, soon after the list of ‘namesakes’ was published. BJP state unit president Sukanta Majumdar tweeted: “This is the level of education and assessment in West Bengal. Corruption is high and education and assessment is poor. Sad state of affairs. When did @MamataOfficial stop playing with life of candidates?”
However, WBBPE insists that these are names of genuine candidates. WBPPE Chairman Goutam Paul said: “Why don’t you make telephone calls to these candidates and ask them? Everyone has a mobile phone these days. Ask them to send their photos and ask them if they are the same persons.”
Further clarifying his point, Mr Paul said: “There is an Amit Shah, too. You give me his details and I will find out. You have mentioned all these names, but why didn’t you mention that there are three candidates with the same name as the board chairman as well?”
When asked about one Mamata Banerjee that features on the list, he said: “There is one person by that name. We had called her up and she told us that her father’s name is Mathuranath Banerjee. If you call her, you will know all her details.”
The board chairman reasoned that just because the names of some candidates are similar to that of some prominent political personalities, one should not assume that they are one and the same.
“There seems to be a targeted campaign against the board and the government, that these names have been inserted on purpose. This is not correct. I am requesting you to stop this misinformation campaign against us,” he added.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has also flagged this issue as a targeted misinformation campaign against her government.
The alleged teachers’ recruitment scam has seen the arrest of former Education Minister Partha Chatterjee, who was sacked as minister and from the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) party as well, after huge amount of cash was recovered from the residences of one of his close aides, Arpita Mukherjee.
Today, Mr Chatterjee’s judicial custody was extended after he was produced in court.
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