NEET Bill: DMK, AIADMK share camaraderie

After staging walkout, AIADMK members return when Bill is taken up for consideration

The Assembly witnessed camaraderie between members of the DMK and the principal Opposition party, the AIADMK, on Monday when The Tamil Nadu Admission to Undergraduate Medical Degree Courses Bill, 2021, was passed.

Though the Leader of the Opposition, Edappadi K. Palaniswami, led AIADMK members on a walkout over the death of a student preparing for NEET, and they were not present in the House when the Bill was tabled, the members of the Opposition party returned to the House when it was taken up for consideration.

When Mr. Palaniswami welcomed the Bill, Chief Minister M.K. Stalin thanked him. “When a resolution for Jallikattu was brought [in 2017], the DMK, though an Opposition party back then, supported it. Likewise, when Bills against NEET were brought [by the AIADMK government in 2017], the DMK, despite being in the Opposition, welcomed it,” Mr. Stalin said.

Though he criticised the AIADMK for not having informed the House that the President had returned the Bills passed against NEET, Mr. Stalin eventually said, “However, I am not prepared to keep talking about it and create a dispute [now].”

To a concern raised by BJP floor leader Nainar Nagendran, Mr. Stalin said, “It is not important to see how many appeared and how many have qualified. How many have taken their own lives? Including Dhanush yesterday, 15 students have died. We have brought this Bill keeping all this in mind.”

Earlier in the day, Mr. Palaniswami raised the issue of the death of Dhanush and made certain remarks that were expunged by the Chair.

In response, Mr. Stalin recalled that NEET was held when Mr. Palaniswami was in office. The death of Anitha in Ariyalur and the non-disclosure of the rejection of the Bills by the President happened during the erstwhile AIADMK regime, he said.

When the Union government had to seek the support of the AIADMK for the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill and three farm bills, the latter could have sought exemption from NEET, Mr. Stalin said.

(Assistance for overcoming suicidal thoughts is available on the State’s health helpline 104 and Sneha’s suicide prevention helpline 044-24640050.)

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