Chennai: The DMK on Tuesday demanded the resignation of Tamil Nadu Health Minister C Vijayabhaskar for "failing" to protect the interests of the state's students on the issue of a common nation-wide medical entrance test and
staged a walk out of the assembly.
The House witnessed a fierce debate between Leader of the opposition M K Stalin and Vijayabaskar on protecting Tamil Nadu students' interests vis-a-vis the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) and ended in members of the DMK and its allies - the Congress and the IUML - staging a walk out.
While the DMK demanded the health minister's resignation, the latter wondered why the party had not taken steps against norms for a common test which were first notified in 2010 by the medical council of India (MCI).
DMK Deputy Leader Duraimurugan said the health minister had to resign as appropriate measures for the exemption of Tamil Nadu from the ambit of NEET were not taken.
Replying to Vijayabhaskar's charge, Stalin said party chief M Karunanidhi had written to the Centre against the MCI move and the court was approached as well.
The Leader of opposition later led the walkout saying his party was not satisfied with the response of the minister. The lone IUML legislator K A M Mohammed Abubacker followed suit.
Vijayabhaskar earlier said the government has appealed against a Madras High Court directive, quashing the government order allotting 85 per cent seats to state board students for under graduate medical admissions.
Also, he and other top officials would be visiting Delhi on Wednesday to persuade the Centre on the matter to get exemption from the NEET, the minister said.
Vijayabhaskar's remark that it was the state government which stood by Tamil Nadu students while parties only issued statements was objected to by Stalin, who demanded that it be expunged.
However, Speaker P Dhanapal said there was no need for it as the views of both DMK and the minister featured in the House records.
Political parties, including the ruling AIADMK and the main opposition DMK, continue to oppose NEET in Tamil Nadu, saying that the interests of state board students will be affected.
Their contention is that state board students, especially from rural areas, would find it difficult to compete with CBSE students. Also, NEET syllabus was based on CBSE for which Tamil Nadu state board students were not adequately prepared.
The Tamil Nadu Assembly recently passed two Bills to allow the continuation of under graduate medical admissions based on Class XII marks. It had sent them to the Centre for Presidential assent which was pending.
Following it, a government order was issued allotting 85 per cent seats to Tamil Nadu students which was quashed on July 14 by the Madras High Court.
Earlier, Stalin accused the Central and state governments of betraying the interests of Tamil Nadu students in respect of NEET and said the initiative of a common test went against the spirit of federalism.
Medical counselling was being deferred and parents were worried over the interests of state students getting affected, he said.
Before pledging support to NDA presidential nominee Ramnath Kovind, the ruling party should have got an assurance from the Centre on getting an assent for the pending Bills that envisage continuation of medical admissions without a
common test, Stalin said.
With the poll for the office of vice-president in the offing, the ruling regime should at least now pressure the Centre to give its approval for the pending Bills, he added....