NEET, student suicides rock Assembly session


Sparks flew in the Tamil Nadu Assembly on Tuesday after Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami alleged that NEET was first implemented during the government of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA), of which the DMK was a constituent.

The DMK’s alliance with the Congress-led UPA was the reason for the suicide of 13 students over the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET), he said.

Though Mr. Palaniswami let Health Minister C. Vijayabaskar reply to the issue raised by the Opposition, he eventually joined the debate to counter the charges made by the DMK and the Congress. A visibly angry Mr. Palaniswami said it was because the DMK supported the Congress-led government at the Centre in 2010 over NEET that 13 students had died.

During the debate, Speaker P. Dhanapal ordered the eviction of Congress MLAs, after they insisted that the remarks made against Nalini Chidambaram, wife of senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram, be expunged. She had appeared as a lawyer favouring NEET in a case before the Supreme Court.

Earlier, DMK president M.K. Stalin raised the issue of students committing suicide and called for a resolution in the Assembly against the Centre, and another one against Railway Minister Piyush Goyal for his remarks on the issue.

The debate eventually witnessed the AIADMK and the Opposition accusing each other of failure to stop the Centre’s attempts to introduce the test. When the DMK criticised the AIADMK for failure to act now, the ruling party alleged that the DMK had supported the UPA whose government introduced the NEET.

When Health Minister C. Vijayabaskar asked Mr. Stalin to explain how he intended to scrap the NEET in eight months, Mr. Stalin said he would take the ordinance route and exert pressure on the Centre as the AIADMK did on the jallikattu issue.

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