The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Madhyamik successor in trust thrust

Calcutta, Sept. 16: The denouement to the Madhyamik marks fiasco that blew up in the face of the New Left a year after it came to power and promised to set things right, especially in education and health, was a quiet chapter today with West Bengal Board of Secondary Education president Haraprasad Samaddar resigning without fuss.

The government wasted no time in naming a successor — Dibyendu Hota, now history teacher in Presidency College and former secretary of the West Bengal Council of Higher Secondary Education — who promised to do his best to clear the mess.

Hota, also perceived to be a party appointee like his predecessor who was forced into an unceremonious exit by the party itself, hit the nail on the head when he said his first task would be to restore people’s “trust” in the board’s functioning.

Clearly, Hota was speaking on the lines the government and what the party had been harping on for the past few days.

Calcutta High Court had earlier exposed the errors in the evaluation of this year’s Madhyamik papers with every candidate approaching the court with a plea for a directive to the board to produce the papers having his/her marks “revised”. In all the cases, the students secured more than the original marks after moving court.

Faced with order after high court order, the government and the CPM took a hardline stand on the board’s working.

School education minister Kanti Biswas was called for an interface with chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee last week. Bhattacharjee, according to party insiders, ticked off Biswas in no uncertain terms.

Next, it was Samaddar’s turn. Though the then board chief tried to convince Bhattacharjee that the mistakes were either committed by clerks or computers, his theory failed to cut any ice.

The matter was also discussed at the CPM’s education subcommittee meeting last week in the presence of state party secretary Anil Biswas and Left Front chairman Biman Bose. Most members questioned Samaddar’s role and a decision to replace Samaddar with Hota was finalised at the meet.

The former board chief today met Biswas at his Bikash Bhavan office. With the party already deciding Samaddar’s fate, officials said the resignation was “not exactly voluntary”.

“The board president came to me and submitted his resignation owning responsibility for the mistakes and irregularities in Madhyamik marksheets,” Biswas said. “We have accepted his resignation.”

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