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Parliament Uproar: NEET Row, Rahul Gandhi’s Mic Silenced

The Parliament witnessed heated clashes on Friday as the Congress-led INDIA bloc and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) locked horns over the NEET controversy. The Congress’s demand to suspend all legislative activities to debate the issue led to an uproar in Lok Sabha, resulting in Speaker Om Birla adjourning the session until Monday.

Congress MP Deepender Hooda, meanwhile, claimed that chaos ensued after the Leader of the Opposition (LoP), Rahul Gandhi’s microphone was switched off.

“The future of the youth has been spoiled due to the continuous paper leaks in the country. The maximum number of paper leak cases has been seen in Haryana. The paper was leaked in the NEET exam and the union education minister Dharmendra Pradhan is running away from responsibility. We had brought up a discussion on this and when it was raised in the House, the mike was switched off. If the mike of the Leader of the Opposition is switched off, then there will be anger among other Opposition MPs and the same happened in the House… We demand that this issue be discussed,” he stated.

Earlier in the day, Congress had moved adjournment motions in both Houses, demanding an urgent discussion on the NEET debacle. Speaker Om Birla, however, rejected the motion, emphasising the scheduled discussion on the Motion of Thanks to President Draupadi Murmu’s address. This decision ignited a fervent protest from the Opposition leaders.

Birla, whose election had already sparked initial tensions in the 18th Lok Sabha session, eventually adjourned the House amidst the commotion.

Post-adjournment, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kiren Rijiju slammed the Congress for disrupting parliamentary proceedings.

“On behalf of the government, we have made it clear that we will give detailed information on whatever issue is raised. We assure the members once again that the government is always ready for discussion. But by halting the proceedings of the House, the tendency adopted by the Congress party – of not letting the House function – is not right…I condemn this. I appeal that those should not happen again,” Rijiju remarked.

Rahul Gandhi had earlier insisted on a discussion on NEET in Parliament, adding that the discussion must happen “respectfully”.

“Yesterday, all the leaders of the opposition parties had a meeting and it was unanimous that today, we want a discussion on the NEET issue. There should be a discussion on NEET here in the House. I request the Prime Minister that this is an issue of the youth and it should be discussed properly and it should be a respectful discussion. We will do it respectfully. You should also join the discussion, you should also participate because this is a matter for the youth. A message should go from the Parliament that the Indian government and the Opposition are talking about the students together,” Gandhi told news agency ANI before entering the Parliament.

The NEET-UG 2024 examination for undergraduate medical programs has stirred a row amid claims of a question paper leak and has triggered nationwide protests from students. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which is probing the paper leak, made its first arrests in the case on Thursday.

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