On Streets, In Parliament: Opposition Plans Twin Attack On Centre Over NEET

The Congress is planning nationwide protests on Friday and a march to Parliament on Monday.

On Streets, In Parliament: Opposition Plans Twin Attack On Centre Over NEET

The student wing of the DMK will also hold a protest on Monday.

New Delhi/Chennai:

As the controversy over the alleged irregularities in the NEET medical exam continues to snowball, the opposition has chalked out a two-pronged strategy to corner the government over the issue. It has decided to hit the streets to demand justice for the students as well as action against those responsible, and will also apply pressure on the government in Parliament.

The protests come against the backdrop of the opposition gaining strength because of its much-improved show in the just concluded Lok Sabha elections, in which the BJP could not reach the majority mark and the INDIA bloc clinched 232 seats. 

The Congress, which emerged victorious in 99 constituencies, making it the biggest constituent of the INDIA bloc, has decided to hold nationwide protests on Friday and will also march to Parliament on Monday, which will be the first day of the first session of the 18th Lok Sabha. It is also expected to push for the resignation of Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan.

Monday will also see a protest by the student wing of the DMK - a party that has been against the national medical entrance exam even before this year's irregularities, contending that poor students and those in rural areas are at a disadvantage as they cannot afford expensive coaching centres. The protest will reiterate the party's demand of leaving medical admissions in Tamil Nadu out of the ambit of the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET). The BJP's former ally, AIADMK, also opposes the national exam. 

'Need To Address Concerns'

Friday's protest will be held at all state headquarters of the Congress. In a letter to all state unit chiefs, state in-charges, Congress legislature party leaders, general secretaries and others on Wednesday, Congress General Secretary (Organisation), KC Venugopal, said there is an urgent need to address the surfeit of complaints and concerns surrounding NEET-UG 2024.

"As you are aware, the National Testing Agency (NTA) released the results of NEET-UG 2024 on 4th June 2024. The results have been marred by allegations of irregularities and paper leaks following the inflated marks of some aspirants," he was quoted as saying by news agency PTI. 

Mr Venugopal said there are significant concerns over the inflated marks and irregularities.

"The examination has been plagued by technical glitches, malpractice and unfair means in certain test centres. Organised corruption is evident from arrests made in Bihar, Gujarat and Haryana, revealing a pattern of malpractice in BJP-ruled states," he said.

In The House

This will be followed by the March to Parliament on Monday and the Congress is also expected to take up the issue strongly inside both houses during the session. 

In a post on X on Tuesday, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi's silence on the issue. 

"Narendra Modi, as usual, is maintaining silence on the tampering with the future of more than 24 lakh students in the NEET examination. The arrests made in Bihar, Gujarat and Haryana clearly show that there has been organised corruption in the examination in a planned manner and these BJP-ruled states have become the epicentre of paper leaks," he wrote in Hindi, and promised that the opposition will take up the issue on the students' behalf. 

The Supreme Court had also come down heavily on the National Testing Agency, which organises the exam, and said it expects timely action. 

"If there's even 0.001% negligence on anyone's part, it should be thoroughly dealt with," the bench said on Tuesday.