The DMK staged a walkout in the Tamil Nadu Assembly on Wednesday after heated exchanges with the AIADMK benches over Leader of the Opposition M K Stalin’s charge that Law Minister C V Shanmugham had misled the House and the people on the NEET issue.
Stalin charged that Shanmugham had suppressed the fact that the two bills sent by the AIADMK Government to the Centre for President’s assent had been rejected nearly 19 months ago and he should, therefore, resign. This led to heated exchanges between DMK and AIADMK members with Health Minister Vijayabhaskar joining issue with Stalin.
Stalin said that when he raised the issue a couple of days, Shanmugham had informed the House that the Centre had only withheld consent for the bills enacted on the basis of resolution adopted by the House and had not rejected them. Further Shanmugham said no official communication was received from the Centre and, lacunae, if any, could be rectified and the bills could be resent for President’s assent once the official letter was received.
Stalin said this was totally contrary to the fact. The Assembly resolution seeking exemption for Tamil Nadu from NEET for admission to medical courses was forwarded to the Centre on February 1, 2017. The Centre returned the bills to the State on Sept 22, 2017.
Producing a copy of the official communication from the Centre, Stalin said the Government kept the people in the dark past 19 months. If it had taken the House in confidence immediately after receipt of the letter from the Centre, another resolution could have been adopted and sent.
Charging that the AIADMK Government clearly not interested in seeking exemption from NEET for the State, Stalin said even after the Central Government counsel told the Madras High Court in a related case last week that the President had refused to give assent to the bill, Law Minister Shanmugham maintained there was no official communication in this regard. Stalin demanded the resignation of the Minister.
Shanmugham however maintained that the Centre had only informed the State that it had withheld consent for the bills. He interpreted it to mean that the Centre had only returned the bills for reconsideration and it had not refused assent. “ If I am proved wrong, I am ready to resign”, he said.
Not satisfied with the Minister’s response, Stalin led the DMK members out of the House.