CM boycotts Governor’s ‘At Home’, expresses ‘pain’ over NEET Bill

He reminds R.N. Ravi of the need to discharge constitutional duties constructively

April 14, 2022 10:07 pm | Updated April 15, 2022 02:22 am IST - CHENNAI

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin. File

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin. File | Photo Credit: PTI

Hours after boycotting the ‘At Home’ reception hosted by Tamil Nadu Governor R.N. Ravi, Chief Minister M.K. Stalin on Thursday evening wrote to the former, expressing pain over the holding up of the NEET exemption Bill.

He reminded the Governor of the need to discharge constitutional duties constructively in the best interest of the people of the State, while pointing to the cordiality and productive relationship enjoyed by the two and official protocols and courtesies extended to the constitutional head of the State till now.

The Chief Minister, scheduled to participate in a function to unveil a statue of national poet Subramania Bharathiar at Raj Bhavan, had boycotted the event and the tea party with his Cabinet colleagues after the Governor did not commit himself on the NEET Bill during a meeting with two Ministers in the morning. The ruling DMK’s allies, too, stayed away, while the Opposition parties, including the AIADMK, the BJP, the PMK and the TMC, participated in the functions.

Mr. Stalin recalled the history of the NEET Bill, its re-enactment in compliance with the constitutional process clarifying the points raised by Mr. Ravi [while returning the original Bill]; the “legislative consensus” surrounding it; and his meetings with the Governor urging him to forward it for presidential assent. The Chief Minister said he was “pained to note that despite our repeated efforts to impress upon your goodselves the urgency and sensitivity of the matter, this issue is evoking no positive response from your side.”

Mr. Stalin pointed out that the admission process for the medical courses for the next academic year was to commence shortly and there was tremendous anxiety and uncertainty among the aspiring students and their parents. “Given this situation, I am sure that you would appreciate our sense of disappointment and dismay at this juncture over the impasse.”

Considering the critical situation, he had deputed senior Ministers Thangam Thennarasu (Industries) and Ma. Subramanian (Health) to brief the Governor and obtain clarity on the way forward within a time frame.

Mr. Stalin explained that since no positive assurance was given during the discussion, it was deemed inappropriate to attend the “celebratory event” hosted at the Raj Bhavan, “where the collective will of our society as well as our Legislative Assembly have not been given its due regard”.

However, the Chief Minister struck a conciliatory note, saying he sincerely hoped the Governor would see the fairness in the government’s request and forward the NEET Bill to the Centre without delay, “thereby fulfilling the constitutional mandate”.

Mr. Stalin expressed the confidence that “when both of us discharge our constitutional duties constructively, the State shall stand to benefit and continue to prosper” and hoped the cordiality would continue.

Earlier, Mr. Thennarasu conveyed the decision to boycott the ‘At Home’ reception, saying “the Governor’s action has forced us into this situation”. He told journalists that it was regrettable the Governor had not considered the collective sentiments of the people, the dreams of aspiring students from rural areas to pursue medical education and the dignity of the Tamil Nadu Assembly. “The Governor has not given both of us any guarantee over the Bill or given us any time-frame,” he said, adding other pieces of legislation adopted by the Assembly, too, were pending before the Governor for long.

Meanwhile, the Governor unveiled Bharathiar’s statue and inaugurated the renovated lawns in the Raj Bhavan in the presence of Union Minister of State L. Murugan, the family members of Bharathiar and others.

He felicitated the poet’s grandson Raj Kumar Bharathi and handed over cash prizes to S. Duraisamy of Government Medical College in Kanniyakumari, R. Vasuki of Madras Christian College, K. Ragavi of Government School in Krishnapuram and J.S. Kawin Inbathamizh of Chettinad Public School in Karaikudi, who won in an essay competition on Bharathiar.

The customary ‘At Home Reception’, which is usually held on Republic Day and Independence Day, was hosted now as it could not be held earlier due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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