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Anger over NEET exam will ‘reverberate inside Parliament’: Congress

New Delhi: The Congress on Thursday again demanded a Supreme Court-monitored probe into the NEET exam issue, and asserted that the anger in the country over the matter will “reverberate inside Parliament as well”.

The opposition party also sought the removal of the National Testing Agency (NTA) Director General and claimed that the BJP government’s attitude towards the ongoing demand for an inquiry into the NEET examination is “irresponsible and insensitive”.

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge said that in the last 10 years, the Modi government has ruined the future of crores of youth through paper leaks and rigging.

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“Grace Marks was not the only problem in the NEET exam. There has been rigging, papers have been leaked, and corruption has taken place. The future of 24 lakh students appearing in the NEET examination is at stake due to the actions of the Modi government,” the Congress president said.

A nexus of exam centre and coaching centre has been formed, where the game of “pay money, get paper” is being played, he alleged.

“The Modi government cannot escape its responsibility by placing the responsibility of its actions on the shoulders of NTA. There should be a CBI investigation into the entire NEET scam. If the Modi government is not ready for a CBI inquiry then the Congress party demands a fair inquiry under the supervision of the Supreme Court,” Kharge said in a post.

After investigation, the culprits should be given the harshest punishment and lakhs of students should be given compensation to save their year from being wasted, he said.

Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh also hit out at the government, saying that “one-third padhan mantri’s” government has tried to wriggle its way out of the simmering NEET controversy and scam.

“It has assured the Supreme Court that grace marks given to 1563 students will be cancelled. But why were the grace marks given in the first place? The primary reason appears to be one physics question in the paper which gave four options. According to the new NCERT Class 12 text book, one of the four was right. But on the basis of an older textbook, another option could also be considered right,” he said.

The students who ticked the latter, in addition to students who lost time due to delays in paper distribution, etc. were given grace marks, Ramesh said.

“It is a pathetic state of affairs, reflecting on both the National Testing Agency and the NCERT,” he said.

Ramesh posed questions to Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and Health Minister J P Nadda.

Was the NEET question paper leaked, as indicated by several media and social media reports and an FIR filed by a student in Patna, he asked.

“Were the results of the NEET-UG paper released ten days earlier than anticipation, on June 4th instead of June 14th so that they would coincide with the Lok Sabha Election results and attract less media attention?” he said.

Since 2019, there haven’t been more than three toppers in any year of NEET UG, which is the single gateway for admission to all MBBS programmes in the country, Ramesh pointed out.

“In 2019 and 2020, there was one topper each. There were three toppers in 2021, one in 2022, and two last year. How did not one or two, but 67 students achieve a perfect score of 720 in 2024? 44 of them benefitted from the grace marks – but that still leaves us with 23 toppers, eleven times higher than last year. What changed this year?” he said.

“How do multiple NEET-UG 2024 toppers, all belonging to the same state, have similar roll numbers? Were they from the same examination center?” Ramesh said.

The fate of 24 lakh students is hanging in the balance, he added.

Addressing a press conference at the AICC headquarters here, Congress leader Gaurav Gogoi also slammed the government over the issue.

“We demand a Supreme Court monitored investigation into this entire scandal which has affected around 24 lakh students,” he said.

“The Congress believes that the BJP government’s attitude towards the ongoing demand for an inquiry into the NEET exam is irresponsible and insensitive…Ordinary families have been forced to cough up amounts close to Rs 30 lakh due to promises given to them by different coaching and examination centres,” he said.

“We believe that no inquiry can be a just, fair and comprehensive if it is headed by the NTA itself. The NTA chairperson should be removed and Prime minister Narendra Modi, who likes giving exam advice to Class 10 students, should not forget the mental anxiety caused to these undergraduates,” Gogoi said.

Instead of paying attention to the “NEET scam”, he is busy attending oath-taking ceremonies and going abroad on foreign trips, he said.

Rest assured, the INDIA bloc will take up the cause of these students because that is our responsibility, Gogoi said.

“Now the INDIA bloc has the sufficient strength to bring the government to its knees and make them accountable to the students,” he said.

“We are waiting for the Parliament session, we will raise the voice of 24 lakh youth of the country inside Parliament. The anger over the NEET exam in the country will also reverberate inside Parliament,” he said.

The Centre on Thursday told the Supreme Court that the decision to give grace marks to 1,563 NEET-UG 2024 candidates for admission to MBBS, BDS and other courses has been cancelled and they will be given an option to take a re-test on June 23.

If these candidates do not wish to take up the re-test, then their earlier marks, sans the grace marks, will be given for the purpose of results.

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