There are other non-BJP states which have not opposed the conduct of the exams and these have a relatively higher number of JEE and NEET aspirants as opposed to the litigants other than Maharashtra.
Among these non-BJP states are Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Delhi and Kerala. Some of these regions are also seeing a spurt in Covid cases.
That leaves the state sticking out as the only one in the upper reaches of the candidate-count chart to oppose the two competitive exams.
Rajasthan and West Bengal, who are also opposed to the tests, have less than half the candidates from the state for the JEE, while Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, and Punjab, the other co-petitioners, have less than one-fourth.
The same proportion stands true for NEET, which will be taken by 2.3 lakh aspirants from the state alone, the highest in the country.
JEE (Main) is from Tuesday, September 1, to Sunday, September 6. The top 2.2 lakh students who qualify in JEE (Main) will be eligible for JEE (Advanced) for IIT entry.
Though Covid remains a concern in the state, a section of parents says that further delays in these competitive exams will have an adverse impact on students preparing for over two years. Sudha Shenoy, a parent representative, said there were students who had opted for a gap year to better their JEE and NEET scores. For them, these delays are a nightmare, said Shenoy.
Praveen Tyagi, chairman, PACE Group, said the exam matter should not be made political now, as not many aspirants are keen on losing a year. “Instead, all governments should do their best to ensure students reach their centres on time to give the exam. They should also ensure safety of students by following proper sanitisation methods and social distancing norms,” Tyagi said.
An IIT director said there was a lot of uncertainty over increasing Covid-19 cases. “Are we sure that a month later the cases will drop? We can’t have two batches taking the test together next year. The number of seats will be the same,” the director said.
He said the states opposing the exams would eventually come around as most students there wanted to take the exams at the earliest.
Abhay Karandikar, director, IIT-Kanpur, said the agencies conducting the exams had made elaborate arrangements to ensure the safety of students and the exam centres had been increased. “It is not advisable to postpone the exams now, as it will only cause hardships and mental agony for students,” he said.