DMK protests against Guv over NEET quota Bill
Chennai: DMK cadres staged a protest near the Raj Bhavan here on Saturday seeking Governor Banwarilal Purohit's nod for a Bill envisaging 7.5 per cent quota for government school students in medical courses, with party chief M K Stalin questioning the 'delay' in giving assent.
Stalin also slammed Chief Minister K Palaniswami for not exerting pressure to get it cleared.
Presiding over the protest to seek nod for the quota Bill, he wondered why Purohit has not assented to it though over a month has lapsed since it was passed by the Assembly and sent to him for clearance.
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.
While Assembly elections in Tamil Nadu are due during April-May 2021, the NEET related issue has once again brought the two major political parties of the state into a straight fight.
Stalin said the people are "ready" to weigh justice and injustice in the Assembly elections and assured to take legal steps "as soon as the DMK assumes power," to get NEET scrapped.
The protest was against the Governor who has not approved the Bill so far and the "incompetent" Palaniswami government that did not get it passed, Stalin alleged.
Law Minister C Ve Shanmugam hit back accusing Stalin of enacting a 'drama' in the guise of protest knowing full well the Bill would be cleared and that the reservation was an initiative of the AIADMK government. Stalin was doing it to try to prevent the Chief Minister earning a "good name" from the people on the quota issue, he alleged.
Also, at the time of Governor's approval, of which the Minister sounded confident, Shanmugam said the DMK wanted to claim it as its achievement and thereby attempt to prevent the credit going the government's way.
Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar also exuded confidence about the Bill's early clearance by Purohit.
Stalin, referring to the Governor, said "as regards the Governor he is a very brisk person," adding Purohit toured Tamil Nadu immediately after assuming office (2017) "violating" traditions.
Purohit's extensive tour led to a 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. Stalin said Purohit has mentioned in a letter to him that he would need 3 to 4 weeks to decide and wondered why he should require so much time for it.
The legal aspects of the reservation was already scrutinised by the government which had set up the Justice P Kalaiyarasan Committee.
When this was the case, he sought to know the need for examining it again and also questioned the four week time frame indicated by Purohit.
The Governor was under the impression that Palaniswami would not raise questions on the student quota issue, but "Stalin and DMK will ask" and this protest is an evidence of that, the top DMK leader said.
While the NEET results were out and medical counselling should start, government school students would get reservation only if the Governor approved the Bill, he said.
"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.