NEET row in Lok Sabha: Rahul Gandhi's mic switched off, claims Congress

Union education minister Dharmendra Pradhan evading responsibility, says Congress MP Deepender Hooda

Sansad TV/Screengrab
Sansad TV/Screengrab

NH Political Bureau

Congress MP Deepender Hooda claimed that "there is anger in the entire opposition" after leader of Opposition Rahul Gandhi's microphone was apparently turned off in the Lok Sabha on Friday.

The Congress-led INDIA bloc and the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance clashed on Friday over the Opposition's demand to prioritise a debate on the NEET (National Entrance-cum-Eligibility Test) controversy by suspending all other legislative business.

In response to the uproar, Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla adjourned the House until Monday. "Continuous paper leaks have jeopardised the future of the youth. Haryana has witnessed the most cases of such leaks. The NEET exam paper was leaked, and Union education minister Dharmendra Pradhan is evading responsibility.

"When this issue was raised in the House, the microphone was switched off. If the leader of the Opposition's mic is turned off, it naturally angers other Opposition MPs, leading to the disruption we saw. We demand a discussion on this matter," Hooda said.

Saying that Rahul Gandhi raised the issue politely, requesting a discussion on NEET, but the "government did not accept it and switched off Rahul's microphone", Hooda added: "NEET paper leak fraud is such a burning issue that the future of crores of youth of the country is affected. Now it is well known that the NEET paper was leaked, many people have been caught in this, the case has been given to CBI, but still its results have neither been stopped nor has anyone taken responsibility for it. This paper leak has become a government problem in the last few years.

"It is unfortunate that when Rahul Gandhi requested that both the ruling party and the Opposition should jointly send a message to the youth that we are with them in this difficult time... the ruling party tried to suppress the voice of the children by switching off his mic. We wanted a positive discussion on NEET, but when the government refused, we protested. This Parliament belongs to everyone, hence the government should be accountable on the issue of NEET," Congress MP Gaurav Gogoi said.

On Friday morning, the Congress submitted adjournment motions in both Houses, seeking the suspension of other business to discuss the NEET issue immediately.

However, Birla declined, stating that the House was set to discuss the motion of thanks on President Draupadi Murmu's address to Parliament, which led to further commotion.

"The INDIA Opposition bloc wants to have a constructive debate with the Government on the NEET exam and the prevailing paper leak issue. Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to do so in Parliament today. This is a serious concern that is causing anxiety to lakhs of families across India. We urge the Prime Minister to debate on this issue and give the students the respect they deserve," Gandhi wrote in an X post later in the evening.

Afterwards, parliamentary affairs minister Kiren Rijiju accused the Congress of obstructing the House's functioning. "The government has made it clear that we are ready to provide detailed information on any issue raised. However, the Congress's approach of halting proceedings is unacceptable. I condemn this and appeal for it not to happen again," he said.

The Central Bureau of Investigation is currently investigating the alleged paper leaks in the NEET-UG and UGC-NET exams.

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