West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on Friday assured a joint delegation of Congress and Left Front leaders that he would look into their request of including Bengali as a medium in the Joint Entrance of Examination (Main), 2020.
Leader of Opposition Abdul Mannan of Congress, senior CPI-M leader Sujan Chakraborty were among those who met Dhankhar at the Raj Bhawan on Friday and submitted a letter requesting him to look into the matter after the National Testing Agency (NTA) allowed Gujarati as a medium for the exam.
The delegation had sought his help to uphold the interest of West Bengal, Dhankhar told PTI.
"I indicated to them (the delegation) that as per media reports the NTA has taken the stand that the entire issue was on account of a stand taken by West Bengal. The matter will be thoroughly examined and if there are any issues which need to be taken that will be done," he said.
"If there has been some stand of the West Bengal that has come in the way of Bengali not been included (as a medium) for JEE Main 2020 we will take up the matter with the state government. Or if the state government has taken all steps (that JEE question paper be set in Bengali too) and none was taken by the Centre then we would take up the matter earnestly, seriously and diligently with the central government," he said.
Dhankhar said he will be coordinating with former pro vice-chancellor of Jadavpur University and former chairman of West Bengal JEE Siddhartha Datta on the issue. Dutta was part of the delegation.
"Over next two days we will formulate our stand in this matter," Dhankhar said.
Chakraborty said, "It's surprising that only a single regional language (Gujrati) has been chosen by the NTA as a medium of question paper in JEE (Main) 2020 without taking into congnizance other regional languages. We think that the decision was taken arbitarily contrary to the spirit of Article 14 of the Constitution".
The CPI-M leader pointing to the Centre's acceptance of the policy of science education in regional languages up to higher secondary level, emphasised on including Bengali, Marathi, Malayalam, Tamil, Assamese, Urdu and Oriya.
"Bengali is the second most spoken language in India and it is in this context that we urged the governor to take appropriate action to uphold the interest of the state and include it besides other regional languages in JEE (Main) 2020," he said.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had on Wednesday criticised the Centre for allowing Gujarati as a medium for the JEE (Mains) and questioned why all other regional languages, including Bengali, should not be included as well.
Banerjee had said that she has nothing against Gujarati and other regional languages should also have been included in the list.
The NTA, which conducts the examination, clarified that though requests were sent to all states only Gujarat and Maharashtra had agreed to admit candidates in their engineering colleges through JEE (Main).
It said initially only Gujarat agreed to admit candidates to the state's engineering colleges through JEE (Main) and requested that question papers be made available in Gujarati language.
In 2014, Maharashtra had also opted for admitting the candidates through JEE and requested that question papers be provided in Marathi and Urdu.
In 2016, both the states withdrew the admission to the state engineering colleges through JEE (Main). Therefore, the translation of the question paper in Marathi and Urdu was stopped.
However, the translation in Gujarati continued at the request of Gujarat, it said.