Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee and her Punjab counterpart Captain Amarinder Singh have exhorted state chief ministers to “speak up” for students and knock the doors of the Supreme Court again for the postponement of the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) for admission to medical and dental colleges and the Joint Entrance Exam (JEE) for entry into the engineering colleges and the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs).
“Let us go to the Supreme Court. Let us talk about this matter. This is a mental agony for students,” Banerjee said during an online meeting of chief ministers from seven states that she and Congress president Sonia Gandhi had called for to come up with a united stand amid demand from many students and parents for the exams to be postponed in view of the COVID pandemic.
“I have not seen so many atrocities in a democracy. The situation is very serious. We have to speak up for the children,” Banerjee said, according to NDTV.
The apex court has already rejected a petition wanting the exams to be postponed, saying it didn’t want to put the careers of students in “jeopardy”. During the hearing, the Centre had told the court that all necessary precautions would be taken to ensure candidates’ safety is not compromised.
The two exams have been postponed twice earlier in view of the COVID pandemic. The National Testing Agency (NTA), which conducts both the exams, has announced that the NEET will be held on September 13, while the JEE (Main) will be held from September 1-6 and the JEE (Advanced) will be conducted on September 27.
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Singh said the matter should be fought in the Supreme Court.
Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot, Chhattisgarh CM Bhupen Bhagel, Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray, Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren and Puducherry chief minister V Narayanasamy were the others in the online meeting, which also discussed the delay by the Centre in paying the GST compensation.
The online meeting is being seen as an attempt by Sonia Gandhi and Mamata Banerjee to rally the opposition to put up a common front against the BJP-ruled Centre.