NEET aspirants, their parents meet Rahul Gandhi to seek support for re-examination

Rahul Gandhi
Rahul Gandhi

New Delhi | A group of NEET aspirants along with their parents on Thursday met senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi amid the ongoing row over alleged irregularities in NEET-UG 2024.

The students met Gandhi at his residence here at 10, Janpath to seek his support in demanding re-examination of the MBBS qualifying paper.

Gandhi met about 15-20 NEET-UG aspirants, minutes after addressing a press conference over the issue.

"We had a satisfying meeting with Rahul ji. He understood the pain of our children," parent of a student said after the interaction with the Congress MP.

"We are demanding re-examination of the NEET-UG paper. Rahul Sir heard our request and assured that he will make all possible efforts to get the re-examination conducted in our interest," a student who met Gandhi said.

The aspirants were accompanied by Congress' student wing National Students' Union of India (NSUI) president Varun Choudhary who orchestrated the meeting.

The NEET-UG aspirants have been demanding re-examination of the test after reports of irregularities and paper leak cropped up at many test centres in Bihar and Gujarat.

The students have demanded that a fresh examination be conducted by an agency other than the National Testing Agency (NTA), raising questions over its ability to conduct such examinations after another examination UGC-NET was cancelled.

The Ministry of Education on Wednesday cancelled UGC-NET conducted by the NTA following inputs that the integrity of the examination may have been compromised.

Launching a scathing attack on the Centre over the irregularities, Gandhi during the press meet had said that the main reason for paper leaks is that educational institutions have been captured by the BJP and its parent organisation RSS and paper leaks will not stop unless that is reversed.

"It was being said Prime Minister Narendra Modi stopped the Ukraine-Russia War and Israel-Gaza war, but he is either not able to stop exam paper leaks or doesn't want to," Gandhi said.

He added that Modi has "psychologically collapsed" post-elections and will struggle to run a government like this.

He also said that the Opposition will raise the exam paper leaks issue in Parliament, asserting it will pressure the government to take action and bring the guilty to book.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Education on Thursday said it is awaiting a report of Bihar Police's Economic Offences Unit on the irregularities in conduct of NEET in Patna and will take further action on basis of that. The ministry also summoned NTA DG Subodh Kumar Singh to discuss the issue further.

It was said PM stopped Ukraine-Russia war but is unable to stop exam paper leaks: Rahul

New Delhi | Congress leader Rahul Gandhi Thursday launched a scathing attack on the Centre over the alleged irregularities in NEET and exam paper leak issue, saying Prime Minister Narendra Modi has "psychologically collapsed" post-elections with his "56-inch chest reduced to 30-32 inches" and will now struggle to run the government.

Addressing a press conference here, he also said the main reason for paper leaks is that educational institutions have been captured by the BJP and its parent organisation RSS and paper leaks will not stop unless that is reversed. He also alleged that the BJP government wants to expand the "Vyapam model" of Madhya Pradesh.

Gandhi said the basic concept of Modi has been demolished by the opposition in the just-concluded elections and had it been a prime minister like Atal Bihari Vajpayee or Manmohan Singh, who believed in humility, the government would have survived.

Noting that there are interesting times ahead, he said Modi's top priority now is to get his Speaker in Parliament and is not bothered about NEET, because of which lakhs of students are suffering.

"We have a government now, and a prime minister now, who will find it very difficult to function. The prime minister is psychologically broken, he has psychologically collapsed and he will struggle to run a government like this because his entire sense of running a government is to generate fear in people, to frighten people, to make people not to speak...," Gandhi claimed.

"So, psychologically, it's almost a fatal blow for the prime minister and he is going to really struggle and of course, now we have a stronger Opposition. So, it's going to be interesting and quite a lot of fun," he noted.

Gandhi said the concept of Modi began in Gujarat and he brought the Gujarat model at the national level, but the country is not scared of him any more.

"No one is scared of him and what has happened now is that in a way they ridicule him. The 56-inch chest earlier has now been reduced to 30-32 inches," he claimed.

Taking a dig at Modi, Gandhi said, "It was being said Prime Minister Modi stopped the Ukraine-Russia War and Israel-Gaza war, but he is either not able to stop exam paper leaks or doesn't want to."

"The silence is because the prime minister is crippled. Right now the prime minister's agenda is the Speaker. He is not bothered about the NEET. He wants that his government should scrape through and he gets his Speaker's post. That's where his mind is right now," he said when asked why the government is silent on NEET.

Asked about the probe, Gandhi said, "They can eye wash whatever they want, but they are going to get such pressure from the Opposition, that they are going to think twice about whatever they are doing. Because we are not going to allow this type of activity to be done as far as our students are concerned."

"The Opposition is simply not going to allow any of this eye wash that is taking place. We will make sure that we put so much pressure on them, that this issue is resolved," he asserted.

He also claimed that people are not scared of him anymore and that is why somebody in Varanasi "threw a chappal on his car".

"So, the basic concept of Modi has been destroyed in this election," he said, noting this was not possible before polls.

Gandhi later posted on X that he forgot to mention in the press conference that "throwing slippers at Narendra Modi and his convoy is highly condemnable and a serious lapse" in his security.

"Our protest against the policies of the government should be registered in a Gandhian way, there is no place for violence and hatred in democracy," he wrote.

At the press conference, Gandhi said the trend of "capturing" of educational institutions by the BJP and the RSS is "extremely damaging" to students.

"Vice Chancellors are appointed, not based on merit, but because they belong to a particular organization and this organization and the BJP have penetrated our education system and destroyed it. What was done by Mr. Modi to the economy with demonetization has now been done to the education system.

"Youngsters, I want you to know that the reason this is happening and the reason you are suffering, is because an independent objective system has been demolished and it has been replaced by an education system that is captured by the BJP, captured by their parent organization and until this capture is released, you are going to suffer, you are going to see cancellations of your exams, you are going to see paper leaks again and again and again," he asserted.

Gandhi claimed that during his Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra, thousands complained about paper leaks and throughout the route, students told him that paper leaks are endemic in India.

"Now, we are seeing an expansion of the idea of Vyapam across the country... Madhya Pradesh has been a centre of this, Gujarat has been a centre of this and now, they have expanded this idea to the rest of the country," he said of the recent controversy while referring to the Vyapam recruitment scam in Madhya Pradesh.

He said the UGC-NET paper has been cancelled, but what is going to happen to NEET should not be done in an arbitrary fashion. "The rules that apply to one paper should apply to another paper and it is very important that the people, who are guilty here, be brought to book and they are punished," he noted.

The former Congress chief also asserted that there is not just an educational crisis in the country and a crisis in every sphere.

"People are very clear that we are sitting on a disaster and we have got a government that is crippled, cannot do the job. It's literally walking around on one leg. Yes, it's a crisis, it's a profound national crisis, it's an economic crisis, it's an educational crisis, it's an institutional crisis, but I don't see any response, I don't even see the capability of a response," he claimed.

Gandhi also met a delegation of NEET aspirants at his residence.

A massive row has erupted on the medical entrance exam NEET over alleged irregularities, with the issue now before the Supreme Court. On Wednesday night, the Union education ministry ordered the cancellation of the UGC-NET following inputs that the exam's integrity may have been compromised, and handed over the matter to the CBI for an investigation.

Isolated incidents should not affect lakhs of students: Dharmendra Pradhan on NEET issue

New Delhi | Amid demand by the opposition to re-conduct the medical entrance exam NEET, Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Thursday said isolated incidents of malpractices should not affect lakhs of students who cleared the examination rightfully.

He announced a high-level panel to look into the functioning of the testing agency NTA.

Addressing a press conference here, Pradhan also appealed to the opposition parties not to politicise the issue and said strict action would be taken against those found guilty, including officials from the National Testing Agency (NTA).

The high-level committee to review and improve the functioning of NTA would be notified soon, the minister said.

About the cancellation of the UGC-NET examination for selection of junior research fellows, assistant professors and PhD scholars, Pradhan said the exam paper was leaked on Darknet.

"Let us have faith in our systems and no irregularities or malpractices will be tolerated by the government," he said.

The NEET examination was held on May 5 across 4,750 centres and around 24 lakh candidates appeared for it. The results were expected to be declared on June 14 but were announced on June 4, saying the evaluation of the answer sheets got completed earlier.

As many as 67 students scored a perfect 720, unprecedented in the NTA's history, with six from a centre in Haryana's Faridabad figuring in the list, raising suspicions about irregularities. It has been alleged that grace marks contributed to 67 students sharing the top rank.

The NEET-UG examination is conducted by the NTA for admissions to MBBS, BDS, AYUSH and other related courses in government and private institutions across the country.

Education minister must resign, NTA scrapped: Sitaram Yechury on exam row

New Delhi | Amid continuing protests against the discrepancies in the NEET and furore over UGC-NET exam cancellation, Communist Party of India (Marxist) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury on Thursday demanded the scrapping of the National Testing Agency and resignation of the Union Education Minister.

"Solidarity with our students -- India's future -- in their struggle to safeguard their academic standards from being destroyed by this ND alliance government led by (Narendra) Modi," Yechury said in a post on X.

Listing his party's demands, Yechury said the NTA system should be scrapped, and the Union Education Minister must resign.

He also said the students who gave recent NET and NEET exams must be compensated by the Union government, and the recently adopted system of mandatory NET score for PhD admissions should be rolled back.

"Withdraw proposals to replace existing admission procedures with centralised entrance tests," he said.

The UGC cancelled the UGC-NET examination on Wednesday, a day after it was held, citing compromised integrity of the test.

UGC-NET test is held to determine the eligibility of Indian nationals for the award of Junior Research Fellowship, appointment as assistant professors, and admission to PhD in Indian universities and colleges.

The decision by the ministry comes amid a massive row over alleged irregularities in the medical entrance exam NEET. The matter is currently being heard at the Supreme Court.

The NEET-UG examination is conducted by the NTA for admissions to MBBS, BDS, AYUSH and other related courses in government and private institutions across the country.

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