Lucknow: A Uttar Pradesh BJP MLA has alleged irregularities in job appointments at a state-run university.
According to Brajesh Kumar Prajapati, the BJP MLA from Tindwari in Banda district, only “one caste” has been preferred for jobs at the Banda University of Agriculture and Technology.
In a letter dated 6 June and addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and UP Governor Anandiben Patel, the MLA has alleged that reservation has been bypassed for 40 vacant posts, as there are at least 11 appointees with the surname “Singh”.
This is being seen as a veiled attempt to suggest favours are being granted to Thakurs, the community that traditionally uses the surname and one that the chief minister belongs to.
ThePrint was able to access the list of 24 candidates selected so far and found the MLA’s claim to be true as there were indeed 11 ‘Singhs’ on the list. It is, however, unclear if all of them are Thakurs, as a few other castes also use the surname in UP.
The MLA’s letter has, however, caused a stir as it is the latest to allege a ‘Thakur raj’ in the state. Many leaders both in the BJP and in the opposition have been accusing the chief minister of favouring those from within his community.
The letter also comes amid rising speculation that there is rift between Adityanath and Deputy CM Keshav Maurya.
Prajapati, a young Other Backward Classes (OBC) leader, is considered close to Maurya.
The BJP MLA has now demanded an inquiry into the matter. He has also demanded that advertisements, under which the selections were made, should be cancelled and reissued.
University authorities have, however, denied the charges.
“All recruitment happened as per the rules. Vacant positions will get filled soon,” Registrar Dr S.K. Singh told ThePrint. “Some people are raising issues of irregularities but it’s not true; everything happened according to a fair selection process.”
In his letter, Prajapati has claimed that the university issued “two different advertisements” to fill 40 vacant posts for professors, associate professors and assistant professor, which he said was an attempt to dilute reservation.
“There is 50 per cent reservation as per the rules but it was not followed. To make this happen, they issued two separate advertisements to fill all 40 seats — 29 at one time and 11 at the next,” his letter reads. “If the government allowed the university to fill the 40 vacant seats in one go, then the reservation system would have applied but they did not follow the system and filled the seats.”
So far, 24 of the posts have been filled, 17 in the general category and seven in the reserved category. Of the 17, at least 11 had the surname ‘Singh’, according to the candidate list accessed by ThePrint.
The posts were filled on 1 June this year.
In his letter, Prajapati has demanded that the selections be cancelled and the advertisements reissued.
‘Will examine the selection process’
The government has now agreed to review the selection process.
“We have not got any official complaint and neither have we received any written order for an investigation,” said Additional Chief Secretary (Agriculture) Devesh Chaturvedi. “As of now, on the basis of local media reports and a viral letter of an MLA, we will examine if any reservation rule has not been followed in the recruitment or if there are any other irregularities. We will set up an inquiry panel to investigate if required.”
An official of the university, who did not want to be named, however, said the bigger issue was reservation being diluted.
“The 11 who have Singh surnames are most probably from the Thakur community. But the selection of so many Thakurs may just be a coincidence. Not every such thing is an irregularity,” the official said. “The bigger issue is the bifurcation of the reservation policy on the 40 seats.”
(Edited by Arun Prashanth)