Tamil Nadu: CM's son leads statewide hunger strike against NEET

The DMK will not stop till Tamil Nadu got exemption from the central qualifying test, chief minister M.K. Stalin said

Ministers and senior DMK functionaries stage a hunger strike against NEET exam in Chennai on Sunday
Ministers and senior DMK functionaries stage a hunger strike against NEET exam in Chennai on Sunday


Tamil Nadu chief minister and DMK president M.K. Stalin on Sunday assured all efforts to ensure NEET exemption for Tamil Nadu, as his son and cabinet minister Udhayanidhi led the party's state-wide hunger strike demanding the abolition of the test.

The DMK will not stop till Tamil Nadu got exemption from the central qualifying test, Stalin said.

The CM's remarks at a wedding coincided with his party's agitation seeking to do away with the National Entrance-cum-Eligibility Test (NEET).

Stalin also took a swipe at TN Governor RN Ravi for his recent remarks that he would never sign in favour of the state's anti-NEET bill, saying the matter was now with the President and that the Governor's job was only that of a "postman," who has to send to the Rashtrapathi Bhavan matters taken up by the state Assembly.

The ruling party hunger strike was held all through Tamil Nadu except in Madurai where the AIADMK is holding a massive state conference today. It will be now held on August 23.

At the protest venue at Valluvar Kottam here, DMK youth wing chief Udhayanidhi was joined by senior leaders and cabinet ministers-- Duraimurugan, Ma Subramanian and PK Sekar Babu, party MPs including Dayanidhi Maran, MLAs and Chennai Mayor Priya R.

A collage of medical aspirants who allegedly died of suicide over NEET, including S Anita of Ariyalur was put on display at the stage and floral tributes paid to them. Newlywed couples joined the protest carrying anti-NEET banners.

The hunger strike is being held in the wake of another alleged suicide of an aspirant last week.

In his address at the wedding, Stalin reiterated that his party has been opposing NEET ever since it was brought.

The earlier bill adopted by the Assembly during the AIADMK regime was returned and the then ruling party did not reveal it, even when Assembly was on, he said. That bill subsequently lapsed, Stalin said, adding his party, ahead of the 2021 elections promised to wholeheartedly strive for a NEET ban.

The bill seeking exemption for TN was adopted twice after the DMK came to power and was "finally sent for Presidential assent after much struggle."

He alleged that Ravi kept the bill at Raj Bhavan and sent it to the President only after the government strongly pressed for it.

"The President should decide on the bill on the basis of Centre's advice. Only the President has the power, not the governor; he only has the job of a postman. he has to send what we sent," he said, referring to Ravi's recent remarks at an interaction that he would never give assent to the state's anti-NEET bill.

On Sunday, the DMK's Youth Wing, Students Wing and Doctors Wing were leading the strike, he pointed out.

"This struggle will continue, DMK won't stop till NEET exemption is ensured. Whether or not in power, this movement is one that works for the people," the CM added.

Speaking at the protest venue here, state minister Duraimurugan said NEET was against the welfare of students and that the DMK has been opposing it for long.

The state Assembly--both during the previous AIADMK regime and the present DMK rule, had adopted resolutions against NEET.

Presently, the anti-NEET bill is with the President for her assent.

Despite repeated pleas, the Centre was not heeding TN's request against NEET, Duraimurugan said.

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