DMK slams Tamil Nadu govt over delay in bill reserving 7.5% seats in medical courses for govt school students

Chief Minister K Palaniswami, however, underplayed the issue, saying the DMK chief MK Stalin was trying to 'derive political mileage' on the quota issue, as Assembly polls are due early next year

Press Trust of India October 24, 2020 16:07:59 IST
DMK slams Tamil Nadu govt over delay in bill reserving 7.5% seats in medical courses for govt school students

File image of MK Stalin. PTI

Chennai: DMK chief MK Stalin on Saturday slammed Chief Minister K Palaniswami over the 7.5 percent quota for government school students in medical courses and asked if it was fair for him to be in the top position and still not persuade Governor Banwarilal Purohit to clear the bill envisaging reservation.

Presiding over a protest demonstration by his party to seek nod for the quota Bill that is pending with Governor, Stalin reiterated his party's opposition to the National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test.

"We are against the NEET. When Kalaignar (late DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi) and late chief minister J Jayalalithaa held power, there was no NEET in Tamil Nadu," he said.

The national test was implemented in the state since Palaniswami was "subservient" to the Centre, he alleged.

"As soon as the DMK is voted to power, we will fully involve ourselves in scrapping NEET through legal avenues and we will emerge victorious," he said after citing aspects like the deaths of 13 students by suicide over NEET in the past year, a case involving impersonation and "confusion" over declaration of results.

Assembly elections in Tamil Nadu are due during April-May 2021.

Stalin said Palaniswami accused him of "doing politics" in the matter, and hit out at the ruling party leaders, saying "Are you all politicians ?Soon you are all going to become (political) orphans."

If the DMK is championing the cause of the people and its fight for government school students was "politics", then "we accept it wholeheartedly," he said and mocked the chief minister as a "fake" farmer.

"This is the first phase of protest. I would like to assure you that the DMK will continue to hold protests till a full stop (till students got 7.5 percent quota) is reached. The protest shall continue."

The DMK chief asked whether Palaniswami, occupying the position of Chief Minister, was "fair" without firmly persuading the Governor to approve the students quota Bill.

The people are "ready" to weigh justice and injustice in the Assembly elections next year, he said. Palaniswami had said on Friday that Stalin was trying to derive political mileage on the quota issue.

The protest was to condemn the "incompetent" Palaniswami government, which could not get the students quota cleared and against the "non sanction of approval" to the Bill by Raj Bhavan, Stalin said.

"The governor is a very brisk person," Stalin said, adding that Purohit toured Tamil Nadu immediately after assuming office (2017), "violating" traditions.

Purohit's extensive tour led to doubt as to whether the Governor or Palaniswami helmed Tamil Nadu as the Chief Minister, he alleged.

"What is the necessity for such a brisk person to delay this matter. What is the reason?" he asked.

The governor was under the impression that Palaniswami would not raise questions on the student quota issue, but "Stalin, DMK will ask and this protest demonstration evidences that," the DMK leader said.

The NEET results were out and medical counselling should start and only if the Governor assented to the Bill, government school students would get reservation, he said.

Thanking the Governor for replying to his letter seeking early approval for the Bill, Stalin wondered why it should take 3 to 4 weeks for Purohit to decide on the Bill.

The DMK chief said the legal aspects of the 7.5 percent reservation was already scrutinised by the government which had set up the Justice P Kalaiyarasan Committee and sought to know the need for examining it again and also questioned the four week time frame indicated by Purohit.

"Only when the Bill comes into force following Governor's assent, 300 government school students will get an opportunity to become doctors. Otherwise only eight students may get admission. This is such a big injustice. How could we be mute spectators," he asked.

"The Governor feels that the AIADMK government will give up if the matter was delayed," he alleged adding his party would not however budge and pursue all avenues for getting the Bill cleared.

The TN Admission to undergraduate courses in Medicine, Dentistry, Indian Medicine and Homeopathy on preferential basis to the students of the Government Schools Bill 2020 was passed in the Assembly on 15 September.

The Bill, aimed at providing horizontal reservation of 7.5 percent for students of state run schools who clear NEET was sent to the Governor for his assent following its passage.

The quota initiative was following the recommendations of a committee, headed by former Judge, Madras High Court, Justice Kalayarasan and it included experts.

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