Sonia, Mamata call CMs meet to discuss NEET-JEE row, revenue loss
Congress chief Sonia Gandhi along with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has convened a meeting of chief ministers at 2.30 pm on Wednesday (August 26) to discuss and demand postponement of NEET and JEE that are scheduled for September.
According to reports, chief ministers of all non-BJP ruled states have been invited to the meeting and include Punjab’s Amarinder Singh, Jharkhand’s Hemant Soren, Chhattisgarh’s Bhupesh Singh and Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy. Kerala Chief Minsiter Pinarayi Vijayan, however, has conveyed that he would be unable to attend the meeting. Reports say, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray too is unlikely to participate in the meeting.
According to NDTV, Sonia on Tuesday had approached Banerjee, Thackeray and Soren for the online meet. The purpose is not just to put pressure on the government to postpone NEET and JEE, but also to demand compensation for states that have incurred revenue losses due to GST amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The purpose is to arrive at a collective decision ahead of Thursday’s meeting of the GST council which will see the attendance of chief ministers. Chief ministers of opposition parties are likely to demand a 14 per cent GST compensation.
Banerjee among other prominent leaders has been pressing the Centre to defer the two entrance examinations in view of the COVID-19 pandemic and the flood situation in many states.
Related news: Parents, students put pressure to conduct NEET-JEE
“Now with the directive of the Education Minister to conduct NEET, JEE 2020 in Sep, I would again appeal to the Centre to assess the risk and postpone these examinations until the situation is conducive again. It is our duty to ensure a safe environment for all our students,” she tweeted on Monday.
The Centre, however, has not shown any signs of relenting. Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank in a recent TV interview said that the decision was taken as a result of pressure from parents and students. He, however, assured that the National Testing Agency is taking all steps to ensure the safety of students in exam halls.
The meeting comes soon after Sonia sailed through a turbulent infighting in the Congress in which her family’s hold over the leadership had come under threat.