Anti-NEET campaign by DMK MLA in school draws flak from BJP

"The government should take severe action against those responsible or permit all parties to carry out their political campaigns on school premises,” BJP state secretary SG Suryah told TNIE.
Image used for illustrative purposes only. (Express illustrations)
Image used for illustrative purposes only. (Express illustrations)

CHENNAI:  The BJP has criticised the recent visit by MLA AMV Prabhakara Raja to a government school in his constituency where he conducted a campaign against the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) and encouraged students to sign the petition against the examination. The state-wide signature campaign was launched by Chief Minister MK Stalin and Minister Udhayanidhi Stalin.

Raja visited the Government Higher Secondary School in MGR Nagar, in his Virugambakkam constituency, on Wednesday and spoke to the students about the reasons for advocating abolishing NEET in Tamil Nadu and collected digital signatures from students. The headmaster and other teachers accompanied him during his interaction with the students.

“The fact that educational institution authorities allowed the MLA to conduct a political campaign during school hours in a classroom is a complete violation and could compromise the decorum of educational institutions. The government should take severe action against those responsible or permit all parties to carry out their political campaigns on school premises,” BJP state secretary SG Suryah told TNIE.

Suryah had shared a video of the event on social media with the caption, “Shameful. #DMK Virugambakkam MLA @PrabhakarRaja88 forcefully obtains anti-NEET signatures from #Chennai government school students while the school headmaster is fully complicit. @Udhaystalin should be ashamed to pollute the minds of children for your petty, cheap politics.”

Responding to the accusation, Raja told TNIE, “I had agreed to provide sports equipment to the school using the MLA local area development fund. Therefore, I visited the school to understand its requirements. During my visit, a student approached me and inquired about the signature campaign we conducted in the constituency in recent days. As an elected representative of the area, it is my responsibility to clarify the doubts of my constituents, whether they are political or administrative in nature.”

He further added that there was nothing wrong with his action since he merely clarified the doubts of his constituency people.  DMK student wing secretary CVMP Ezhilarasan told TNIE that the MLA only intended to raise awareness and had no ulterior motives.

Former CEO of the education department, Samy Sathyamoorthi, said, “While it is indeed a violation, the MLA could have avoided such incidents. Perhaps, if the MLA was unaware of the rules and regulations governing school activities, the headmaster could have advised him on the violation.” Officials from the school education department declined to comment on the issue.

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