7 opposition CMs want NEET, JEE put off, will seek SC rethink


NEW DELHI: Six states and a Union Territory will petition the Supreme Court against the holding of NEET and JEE examinations from September 1, flagging concerns of a risk due to Covid infection and seeking a postponement till the situation improves.

The seven include four governed by Congress (Punjab, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Puducherry), two where the party is in alliance (Maharashtra and Jharkhand) and West Bengal, where Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool is in office.

In a virtual meeting chaired by Congress chief Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday, the seven CMs felt while the apex court had okayed the holding of exams, it had in the past shown consideration for students in sensitive situations.

While Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal did not attend the meeting, his AAP government also opposed holding of the exams right now. Even Tamil Nadu government, led by BJP ally AIADMK, has been asking for the exams to be deferred.

The debate on whether the entrance exams to engineering and medical colleges should be held or deferred has become a polarising one with the opposition parties wading in. On social media, comments flew thick and fast, with allegations of hashtags and trends being manipulated and traded as well. The discussion appeared to have split opinion even as the government and

the National Testing Agency

said arrangements have been made keeping the needs of social distancing and sanitation in mind.

The Supreme Court recently dismissed appeals against holding of the exams noting that “life should move on. We have to go ahead. Precious one year of students will go waste”.

Banerjee said she has written two letters to PM Narendra Modi asking for the Centre to approach the Supreme Court to defer the exams. “If the government of India cannot go to court, we, as elected state governments can approach the court on behalf of lakhs of students whose future is at stake,” she said. Punjab CM Amarinder Singh said, “I endorse Mamata Banerjee’s view that we should collectively approach the Supreme Court again.”

On Tuesday, Sonia Gandhi reached out to Mamata Banerjee and Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray among other leaders to hold a meeting of the opposition chief ministers.

Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren

said, “Exams must happen but we are in too much hurry. In my state, we have very few centres. To accommodate these students, we will have to open all hotels and buses.”

The meeting was politically significant as the CMs of three key regional parties— Trinamool Congress, Shiv Sena (Uddhav Th

Real More »