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DMK takes umbrage at Tamil Nadu Governor for his comment on NEET

CHENNAI: The ruling DMK on Saturday strongly objected to Tamil Nadu Governor R N Ravi’s remark on National Eligibility cum Entrance Test and asserted that if he tried to do politics by following a ‘big brother attitude’, it would not succeed.

Sometimes, a question arose if Ravi went beyond the limits of his powers, DMK’s Tamil daily ‘Murasoli’ said referring to criticisms against him when he was the Governor of Nagaland. Citing Ravi’s reference to NEET in his Republic Day Address, the ruling party mouthpiece said the remark appeared to have an idea to ‘graze’ the self-respect of the people of Tamil Nadu.

A Bill adopted by the Assembly to exempt NEET is pending with the Governor for his consideration and when the entire state is opposed to the test for medical admissions barring a few ‘Sanghis’, the DMK organ asked if it was fair for Ravi to comment (appearing to defend NEET) that the enrollment of government school students in state-run medical colleges has increased following the test’s introduction.

Also, the fate of the Bill passed in September 2021 is not known yet, the write-up in Saturday’s edition said.

Governor Ravi should first realise that Tamil Nadu is not similar to other states and here, people living even in remote villages have political clarity. Before conveying his views, if Ravi ‘understands Tamil Nadu and its history clearly’, it would bring repute to the office he holds, the article said.

Ravi should let people know if it was fair to not make any comment on the pending Bill by hiding under legal intricacies. The TN Assembly represents about 7 crore Tamil people and the Bill was passed by the House, the DMK mouthpiece underscored.

The Governor had said in his Republic Day address: “Improving the quality of education in our government schools is the crying need of the time. The negative differential in the educational outputs between the government and private schools is worrisome. The poor cannot afford expensive private schools. Government schools are their only hope.”

“Before introduction of NEET, the share of students from government schools to the seats in government medical colleges was hardly 1 percent. Thanks to the affirmative action of 7.5 percent reservation for government school students that number has improved significantly,” Ravi said. The 7.5 per cent reservation was introduced during the previous AIADMK regime.

“However, there is urgent need to improve the quality of education also in the government schools. Similarly in higher education too, we must work hard to restore the once enviable reputation of our universities,” the Governor said in the address.

The DMK said a party captures power by explaining to the people its policies and the public too expect the party that wins polls to fulfill their aspirations. DMK had all along staunchly opposed NEET on several grounds including infringement of state’s rights. Also, the party had time and again said that the test went against students belonging to backward classes and rural regions.

The ruling party further said in the write-up that the Governor should realise that giving cold shoulder to the Bill passed by the Assembly to fulfill the people’s aspirations meant insulting them.

Listing previous Governors of Tamil Nadu including those who had been politicians and others as well, the DMK said those who confined themselves to the realms of power conferred by the Constitution on the office of Governor had won praise. However, there were also others who had ‘trampled’ Constitutional norms and became a blot on the institution.

“We accept that the Governor is a representative of the Union government,” the article said and wanted Ravi to understand that his paramount duty was to convey to the Centre the opinion of Tamil Nadu people and make the Union government understand it and not impose the Central government’s decision on the people.

Be it opposition to NEET which is based on the state’s right and the two-language policy of only Tamil and English, the entire state of Tamil Nadu is united transcending party lines, the DMK said. In such matters, there is no difference in the stand of either the ruling or principal opposition parties, Murasoli said.

By understanding this aspect, Ravi should make efforts to get recognition from the Centre for the state’s ‘voice of right’, the DMK said apparently urging the Governor to forward to the Union government, the Bill — to exempt Tamil Nadu from the ambit of NEET — and work towards getting Presidential assent for it.

Rather than pursuing such a line, if Ravi thought of doing politics by clinging on to a ‘big brother attitude’, he would do well to realise that it would not succeed and Tamil Nadu is not Nagaland, his previous state of posting, the ruling party said.

To underscore that point, the Murasoli article used a popular Tamil phrase ‘Kokkendru Ninaithayo Konganava’, from a Shaivite Siddhar (the enlightened) tradition folktale. The phrase also formed part of the headline for the write-up.

The story emphasises full devotion to one’s duty and says that not even a saint who is endowed with supernatural powers could do anything to such a committed person. In the folklore, the ‘Kokkendru’ phrase was used by a devoted homemaker who tells a saint, Konganar to not underestimate her. She conveys to him that he cannot burn her to ashes the way he burnt a crane through his mere gaze.

Ravi, a senior police officer, was appointed governor following his retirement and he was not a leader who understood political dynamics, the article said. The TN Governor should grasp that ‘intimidatory tactics’ is needed sometimes by police department and it may help them too to an extent, but such an approach would not help achieve anything in politics.

Tamil Nadu Industries Minister Thangam Thennarasu has already opposed the Governor’s comment on NEET.

This is the first time the DMK has crossed swords with Ravi after he assumed office as Governor in September last year. The DMK had opposed Ravi’s predecessor Banwarilal Purohit as well when he had embarked on a state-wide tour holding that it went against democratic ethos and infringed on the rights of a duly-elected government.

Source: Press Trust of India

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