New Delhi: Hours after the announcement to postpone the Maharashtra Public Service Commission (MPSC) examinations, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray sprung into action to contain the unrest the decision had caused in the state.

The MPSC examination was scheduled to be held on Sunday (March 14), but it was postponed in view of the increasing cases of coronavirus in the state.

Thackeray said that the exams have been postponed for only a few days and the new date will be announced by Friday.

“Last time when it (MPSC exams) was postponed, I had assured you it won’t be further postponed when the next date is declared. Today it was postponed due to COVID-19. I assure you that postponement isn’t for 2-3 months but for a few days. The exam will take place in a week’s time,” Thackeray was quoted as saying by ANI.

The chief minister said that the people engaged in exam duty must be tested for the virus before participating in the process.

“Those engaged in exam duty must test negative for COVID-19. It’s better that people engaged in the exam duty should be vaccinated first. No one should have any doubt in their mind examiners themselves are infected. We’ll declare the fresh date by tomorrow,” he added. 

Thackeray further cautioned the students and parents “to not lend a shoulder for any political gun” on the issue.

“I don’t want to play with students’ emotions but I don’t want to play with their health either. This extra time which I’m seeking is only for better preparations for staff and other essentials. I appeal to students and parents to not lend a shoulder for any political gun,” Thackeray said.

Earlier in the day, students took to the streets in many cities in the state to protest against the government’s decision to postpone the exams.

A large number of students protested in Pune, Nagpur, Kolhapur, Aurangabad and Jalgaon.

The government’s decision to postpone the MPSC exams came under fire from the opposition as well as leaders of the ruling alliance.

Senior Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan questioned the wisdom of the decision.

Speaking to reporters in Pune, he said, “If the government can permit weddings, hold budget session and conduct exams for the health department, then it is wrong to cancel the MPSC examination.”

BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis also demanded that the decision be reversed.

“The exams have been pushed forward already and it would result in the loss of opportunity for many students who invest their best years in preparation,” he tweeted.

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