The three-day monsoon session of the Tamil Nadu Assembly commenced on Monday at the Kalaivanar auditorium amidst demand by the opposition DMK for a ban on the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) in the state.
On the first day of the session, obituary references were made to former President Pranab Mukherjee, DMK MLA J Anbazhagan who died of Covid-19 and all those in the state who succumbed to coronavirus. The opposition DMK led by party President M K Stalin turned up wearing face masks containing the bilingual slogans "Ban NEET, Save TN Students".
Ahead of the session, Speaker P Dhanapal, Chief Minister K Palaniswami, his deputy O Panneerselvam, Stalin and all the members underwent COVID-19 test. On Monday, the House condoled the deaths of Pranab Mukherjee, Congress MP H Vasantha Kumar, who resigned as Nanguneri MLA to successfully contest the 2019 Lok Sabha polls from Kanyakumari, Anbazhagan and those who had lost their lives due to coronavirus.
Dhanapal later adjourned the House for the day after the members paid homage to the departed and passed a condolence resolution. Later, speaking to reporters outside the auditorium, Stalin said he had sought the Speaker to include the names of the NEET aspirants in Tamil Nadu who had committed suicide, in the Assembly condolence resolution.
"I had put forth this demand before the resolution was taken up by the house. But he (Speaker) declined. This is not only regrettable but also condemnable," Stalin said, while pointing out the aspirants allegedly committed suicide due to fear of the exam. As many as four medical aspirants from Madurai, Ariyalur, Dharmapuri and Namakkal districts allegedly committed suicide last week, with their deaths sending shock waves across the state.
The leader of the opposition also claimed that the Assembly business advisory committee refused to pay heed to the party's suggestion for an extended session to discuss crucial issues like NEET and the Centre's draft Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) 2020 notification. "I and my party MLAs have given about 15 to 20 notices seeking special call attention motion to discuss the issues. I wonder if these could be taken up in the next two days," Stalin told reporters.