Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday alleged that India’s education system had been “captured” by the Bharatiya Janata Party and its parent organisation, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.

Gandhi was speaking at a press conference regarding the alleged irregularities in the National Eligibility-Cum-Entrance Test. The results of the entrance examination were announced on June 4. Subsequently, several aspirants alleged that an inflation of marks had led to 67 candidates securing the top rank, including six from the same examination centre.

On June 14, the Gujarat Police arrested five persons for alleged malpractice at an examination centre in Panchmahal district’s Godhra. Meanwhile, the Bihar Police also said that an investigation into the alleged irregularities in the examination was “suggestive of a paper leak”.

On Thursday, Gandhi said that paper leaks will not stop until the “capture” of educational institutions by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and BJP is reversed.

“If you don’t give jobs based on merit and give jobs based on ideology…this [paper leaks] will keep happening,” said the Rae Bareli MP.

He also claimed that several students had complained to him about paper leaks during his second Bharat Jodo Yatra, which was held from January to March. The Bharat Jodo Yatra was an outreach programme by the Congress.

“It was being said that Narendra Modi ji stopped the Russia-Ukraine war…and later Israel’s war on Gaza,” said the Congress leader. “But for whatever reasons, he cannot stop paper leaks in the country.”

He added: “Those who lose are the students. They work for months and years. And your future is being played with. In Madhya Pradesh, Vyapam [alleged scam] happened and the same is being done across India.”

Gandhi was referring to alleged irregularities in various entrance and recruitment exams conducted by the Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board, also known as the Vyavsayik Pariksha Mandal, or Vyapam. The irregularities came to light in 2011.

He also repeated his claim that Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh had become “epicentres for paper leaks”. The BJP is in power in all three states.

The Congress leader had first made the claim in a social media post on Tuesday.

On the same day, the Supreme Court told the Centre and the National Testing Agency that even “0.001% negligence” in conducting the National Eligibility-Cum-Entrance Test should be looked into with all seriousness.

The National Testing Agency conducts the National Eligibility-Cum-Entrance Test for admission to undergraduate medical courses.

Last week, the Centre had told the court that it would cancel the grace marks awarded to 1,563 students. These candidates can either appear for a re-examination or retain their original scores, which will exclude the compensatory marks that had been given to them.

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