Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday urged the government to hold a conversation with students over the issue of conducting NEET and JEE amid the coronavirus pandemic and take a decision after arriving at a consensus.
Various opposition parties, including the Congress, have demanded that the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test and the Joint Entrance Examination be deferred due to the COVID-19 pandemic and floods in parts of the country, even as the Union government has made it clear that they will be held as per schedule with due precautions.
Six ministers of opposition-ruled states on Friday also moved the Supreme Court seeking review of its order permitting the Centre to conduct NEET and JEE this year amid the persisting pandemic.
As part of the Congress's day-long campaign of holding protests and voicing opposition on social media to holding of the entrance examinations, Gandhi tweeted and also put out a video in support of students.
"NEET-JEE aspirants' safety should not be compromised due to the failures of the government. Government must listen to all stakeholders and arrive at a consensus," he tweeted with the hashtag 'Speak Up For Student Safety'.
With the tweet, Gandhi also tagged a video of him urging the government to listen to students and take a decision only after reaching a consensus.
"You are the students and you are going to take this country to new heights. Everybody understands what has happened over the last three or four months," the former Congress chief said in the video.
"Everybody understands the mishandling of COVID-19, the devastation that has been caused, the economic destruction, the pain that this country has had to bear. Now what I don't understand is why you should be held responsible and why further pain should be imposed on you," Gandhi said, addressing students.
Alleging that the government has been incompetent, he asked why the Centre should force anything on students.
"It is important that the government listens to the students, they are wise, they have the interest of this country at heart and any decision that is made with regard to these exams is made after a conversation and after a consensus has been developed and this is my message to the government," he said.
Gandhi urged the government to have a conversation with students and resolve this issue peacefully.
Earlier in the day, the Congress leader tweeted, "Unite your voice with lakhs of suffering students. #SpeakUpFor StudentSafety...Let's make the government listen to the students".
"Raise your voice with lakhs of worried students... Let us demand from the government to listen to the students," he tweeted, tagging a video which emphasised the party's stand on the issue that the government must take into consideration the problems being faced by the students.
Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said the government cannot ignore the voices of students appearing for JEE, NEET and those of their concerned parents.
"They are the future of our country.With the rising scale of the pandemic, is it fair to expose them to infection in this manner? Are they not our children too?" she asked.
The Congress also posted videos of several senior party leaders voicing their opposition against holding of the exams.
Congress general secretary organisation, K C Venugopal, had said on Wednesday that various state units of the Congress will be holding protests on Friday in front of central government offices at state and district headquarters.
While the NEET is slated to be held on September 13, engineering entrance exam JEE-Main is scheduled between September 1-6.