It was a ‘GK/IQ’ test - only by knowledge or intelligence - Madhya Pradesh minister Gopal Bhargav meant information about himself. And “inform” he did.
The 40,000 participants at the test organised by Bhargav on January 12 were given questions such as: ‘Who is known as Vikas Purush?’, ‘Which is the most developed assembly constituency in the country?’, ‘Apart from Gopal Bhargav, is there any other cabinet minister in the country who has given more time to his constituency?’, and ‘Which minister or leader in India has served people by staying awake most nights?’
Those who won were those who got it “right”: they had to answer either ‘Bhargav’ or his seat Rehli in Sagar district.
The social justice, panchayat and rural development minister participated as well, and won hands down. Bhargav scored 98 out of 100, failing to get only two questions right. One on the number of bhajan mandalis he funds; another that involved the calculation of compound interest.
While the class 10 student who came second is to get an Alto car, 500 more prizes will be given away, including bikes, laptops, LCD TVs, tablets, cycles and scholarships for engineering students.
The test was held at 75 centres across the constituency, supervised by 1,200 employees of the state education department. The youngest participant was 13, the oldest 70. “I did not set the paper and did not know the questions,” said Bhargav.
However, the ‘Swami Vivekananda Kshetriya Vikas Evam Jagrukta Samiti’, floated by the minister’s men, that organised the test did not leave anything to chance. The applicants who bought the Rs 20 forms were given a 116-page ‘guide’ containing 1,000 questions and answers for the test. The test coincided with the 150th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda. The GK paper had some questions on history, geography, science, mathematic and politics.
Bhargav, who once laid 1,135 foundation stones in a day and routinely organises mass weddings, called the move “political innovation”. People know a lot about things other than their surroundings, he said. “I wanted to find out is people in my constituency know me and my work. I am satisfied with the outcome.”
As for the two questions he got wrong, he blamed it on the cameras “constantly focused on me”. “I could not concentrate.”