Mamata Banerjee to make NEET, JEE key issue on TMC students’ wing foundation day
The demand for postponement of National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) and Joint Entrance Examination (JEE)-Main will be in focus, when West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee celebrates the foundation day of the Trinamool Congress Chhatra Parishad (TMCP), the students’ wing of her party, on Friday.
JEE-Main and NEET for undergraduate engineering and medical course aspirants, respectively, will be held between September 1 and 6 and on September 13, respectively.
CM Banerjee has said that millions of students and parents accompanying them to examination centres would be exposed to the risk of getting infected by SARS-CoV-2, which causes coronavirus disease (Covid-19).
Trinamool Congress (TMC) leaders said that Banerjee would address a virtual rally on Friday afternoon and it is expected to be the party’s second big event during the Covid-19 pandemic after the annual Martyrs’ Day programme on July 21.
Friday’s virtual rally will be broadcast live on social media.
While jointly convening a virtual meeting of CMs from non-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-ruled states along with Congress’s interim president Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday, Banerjee proposed that these states should move the Supreme Court (SC).
“Didi (Banerjee) is happy with the response from the other CMs. At the meeting she said that Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik (who did not attend the meeting) might join his counterparts. On Thursday, Patnaik, who heads the Biju Janata Dal (BJD), called up Prime Minister Narendra Modi and requested him not to hold the examinations in September,” said a senior TMC leader, who did not want to be quoted. “This is Didi’s success,” he added.
The BJP reacted sharply on Thursday.
“WB CM Mamata Banerjee, after pleading inability to facilitate JEE/NEET exams, has now ordered a state-wide lockdown on September 11 and 12, to create difficulties for NEET examinees to reach the examination venue on September 13. In order to achieve her political goals, is she treading a dangerous path?” Amit Malviya, the head of the BJP’s national information technology (IT) cell, tweeted.
Every year, TMC celebrates August 28 with a rally held near the statue of Mahatma Gandhi in the Maidan in central Kolkata.
A small rally will be held on Friday morning because of the pandemic, when TMCP members will demand postponement of NEET and JEE.
Other opposition parties in Bengal have also taken a stand, as the issue is expected to influence young and first-time voters in the assembly polls slated to be held next year.
The Bengal unit of the Congress and the Communist Party of India (Marxist), or the CPI (M), have demanded the postponement of the examinations.
On Thursday, leader of the opposition in the West Bengal assembly and veteran Congress leader Abdul Mannan and CPI (M) lawmaker Sujan Chakraborty jointly wrote letter to Bengal governor Jagdeep Dhankhar and Union education minister Ramesh Pokhriyal, seeking postponement of NEET and JEE-Main examinations.
Chhatra Parishad, the students’ wing of the Congress, will also celebrate its 67th foundation day through protests on Friday.