NEW DELHI: At loggerheads over the NEET issue, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin on Friday said Governor R N Ravi is a "pleasant" person but the "excessive delay" in his decision-making on the crucial matter is not correct and such a scenario shows there is no need for a governor.
The ruling DMK led by Stalin has been asking for the abolition of the office of governor after the state government's relations with the Raj Bhavan soured in the midst of a controversy surrounding the NEET (National Eligibility cum Entrance Test) Exemption Bill.
The governor returned the bill adopted in the Assembly last year, but the House has adopted a second one again this year.
"The relationship between the governor and us is good. Governor Ravi is pleasant to associate with. He is always interested in meeting and conversing at length. We do not want to criticise him on a personal note," Stalin told PTI in an interview during his Delhi visit.
"There is an excessive delay in his decision-making and sending. This is not correct. He was the first to repeal the NEET Exemption Bill. When we pass, a second time, he should send it to President himself. He is late in doing that. Otherwise, our firm position is that there is no need for a governorship," he said.
During his meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday, Stalin also took up the Tamil Nadu Assembly resolution seeking exemption for the state from the NEET for admission to medical courses.
Asked how does he plan to tackle the sensitive inter-state Mullaperiyar dam and Cauvery water sharing disputes with Kerala and Karnataka and whether he will advocate chief minister-level talks, Stalin said, "We will make all efforts to assert the right of Tamil Nadu in the Cauvery and Mullaperiyar dam issues."
On March 15, the Tamil Nadu governor had assured Chief Minister M K Stalin that the anti-NEET bill adopted by the Assembly would be forwarded to the Centre for presidential assent.
Stalin had called on Ravi at the Raj Bhavan and urged him to expeditiously send the bill to exempt Tamil Nadu from the purview of the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test for getting presidential assent.
On February 8, the Tamil Nadu Assembly had adopted once again the anti-NEET bill and sent it to the Raj Bhavan for getting presidential assent.
The previous bill passed on September 13, 2021 by the DMK regime was returned after 142 days to the government by Governor Ravi.
Since admission to medical colleges for the 2022-23 academic year is set to commence soon, the bill should be sent to the Centre quickly, the chief minister had underscored during his meeting with the governor.
Also, Stalin urged Ravi to take immediate action on other bills passed by the Assembly and other files, all pending for many months.
The governor and the ruling DMK for the first time crossed swords on NEET in January this year following Ravi's remarks in his Republic Day address.
Ravi had said, "Before the introduction of NEET, the share of students from government schools to the seats in government medical colleges was hardly 1 per cent.
Thanks to the affirmative action of 7.5 per cent reservation for government school students that number has improved significantly."
The 7.5 per cent reservation was introduced during the previous AIADMK regime.
The DMK had strongly objected to Ravi's remark on NEET and asserted that if he tried "to do politics" by following a "big brother attitude", it would not succeed.
Later, the governor's office had on February 3 said that the anti-NEET bill (2021) was sent back to the Assembly.
The Raj Bhavan had said that Ravi is of the opinion that the bill went against the interests of rural and economically poor students and hence returned.
The return of the bill echoed in the Lok Sabha as well and the DMK and its ally Congress had demanded that the Centre recall Ravi.
Subsequently, the state government held an all-party meeting and soon the bill was adopted again in the Assembly.
Barring the BJP, all other parties in Tamil Nadu oppose NEET and doing away with the national test is one of the 2021 Assembly election assurances of the ruling DMK.