To assess the knowledge of Marathi language among civic poll aspirants, the Mira Bhayander unit of the Congress conducted a written test before giving tickets to candidates wanting to contest elections. It is for the first time that the Congress unit has conducted a written exam for civic polls. Party leaders said interested candidates were told one month in advance to learn Marathi. Around 350 aspirants took the written test held recently. “Mira Bhayander area has a non-Marathi population of about 60 per cent. So, many of them do not have the basic knowledge of Marathi,” said a party office bearer adding that the questions in the written test were pertaining to politics and social issues.
Anil Sawant, the head of the Mira Bhayander unit of the Congress said the aim of the written test was to assess a candidate’s basic knowledge of Marathi. “The official language of the state government and the civic body is Marathi. If candidates do not have the basic knowledge of Marathi, many of them will start losing interest in taking part in the civic body’s functioning. So, they won’t be able to raise any civic issues and that will reflect badly on the party,” said Sawant.
Some of the questions in the written test were: “Who is the current chief minister of Uttar Pradesh?”, “Who was the first chief minister of Karnataka?”, “Which are the works being carried out in Mira Bhayander under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM)?”.
“These questions were asked to check political, social and civic knowledge of the candidates. If the candidates could not answer some of the questions, it doesn’t mean that they won’t get tickets. The exam was not for assessing general knowledge but Marathi language skills,” said Sawant adding that the exam is being assessed by senior party leaders from the state Congress. Polls for the 95-member Mira Bhayander civic body will be held on August 20. The Congress plans to field candidates in all 95 seats.