NEET-JEE crisis: Live updates from Sonia Gandhi's meeting with Opposition Chief Ministers
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There has been massive protests in recent days, with students, political leaders and even international figures demanding that the Centre retract its decision to go ahead with the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) and the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE).

While many including Rajya Sabha MP Subramanian Swamy, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee have already urged the Centre to reconsider, this has now become a rallying point for many political leaders across the country.

On Wednesday, Congress President Sonia Gandhi held a meeting with many of the Opposition Chief Ministers to discuss the issue. The Free Press Journal's Prema Rajaram had earlier reported that other topics that will be under discussion at the meeting include the strengthening of federalism.

Here's what is being said at the meeting:

Mamata Banerjee

The West Bengal Chief Minister has urged all CMs to collectively move the Supreme Court for the postponement of the exams.

"More than 4,500 centres and lakhs of students are involved. Rail not functional, transport not working properly and there is a pandemic going on," she noted.

Thanking Sonia Gandhi for giving her the opportunity to convene a meeting, Banerjee said that "we stand with our students".

"Whatever help they require, we are willing to do," she added.

Hemant Soren

Speaking at the meeting, Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren said that holding the exams would necessitate the reopening of the transport system despite the pandemic.

"We will have to reopen all buses and transportation amidst coronavirus. Students will not come alone. They will come with parents. This will increase the population," he noted.

Soren said that when it came to exams, there would also be people coming from neighbouring states at times. "So if the exams happen, we have to open all buses and hotels as parents also come," he reiterated, calling for a delay. He urged everyone to work jointly on this issue.

"I feel opposition voice should be raised so that they cannot divert our attention," he added.

Uddhav Thackeray

Mahrashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray too was of a similar mind. Speaking of the educational situation as a whole he said that one could not "step back once we step forward". The CM said that the state was gradually reopening and that there was no point in hurrying.

"We will start education but not schools. Aditya has given a letter to the Centre that this educational year should be taken ahead. Hence we suggested January for new academic year," he said.

Sonia Gandhi

Congress chief Sonia Gandhi has said that the Centre was dealing "uncaringly" with students' problems and the exams issue.

"We have to work and fight together against Central government," she said at the meeting.

Captain Amarinder Singh

The Punjab Chief Minister has urged all the officials sitting there to go to the Supreme court (to file a review petition on the Supreme Court's order to hold NEET and JEE exams).

V Narayanasamy

The Puducherry Chief Minister opined that conducting of examinations will lead to a rise in COVID-19 cases in India.

"Government of India will be responsible for it. We will jointly fight the battle against the Central government on this issue," he said.

(With inputs from agencies and Prema Rajaram)

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Free Press Journal