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PM Modi's third term begins under pressure as Oppn gets ammo from train mishap, terror attacks & exam fiascos to take on Centre

The Opposition views that the developments would also be advantageous for them as they believe alliance partners would not be vociferous in jumping into the defence of the government.
Last Updated : 20 June 2024, 08:58 IST

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New Delhi: A string of incidents from exam fiascos to violence in Manipur, terror attacks in Jammu and Kashmir and a train accident in West Bengal in the past three weeks have put the spotlight on the Narendra Modi government at the start of its third term, giving the Opposition enough ammunition to put pressure on the coalition dispensation.

The latest trouble for the government came in the form of irregularities in the UGC-NET exam, which had to be cancelled and a CBI investigation ordered on Wednesday night, close on the heels of the controversy surrounding the NEET-UG tests that has brought thousands of students to the streets.

The Opposition I.N.D.I.A. has made it clear that they would be raising the decibel levels on the NEET and UGC-NET issues inside and outside Parliament with Congress announcing a nationwide protest on Friday against the irregularities in the NEET exam, which will now be extended to include the issue of UGC-NET test.

Congress and other Opposition parties see an opportunity to further connect with the youth by raising these issues, as an extension to their Lok Sabha campaign when they raised issues related to exams, including those related to recruitment, jobs and paper leaks. Congress in its manifesto promised stricter punishment and compensation in paper leak cases.

The Opposition also views that the developments would also be advantageous for them as they believe alliance partners TDP and JD(U) would not be vociferous in jumping into the defence of the government over the issue at a time NDA leader BJP does not have a majority on its own.

Taking forward the fight, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge on Thursday expanded the ambit of their protests by referring to the National Recruitment Agency (NRA) set up to hold job tests remaining “completely defunct” and not conducting a single test in the last four years.

Soon after UGC-NET exam was cancelled on Wednesday night, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge and General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra took to ‘X’, dubbing the Modi dispensation “paper leak government”. 

Congress Rahul Gandhi assured students they would raise NEET in Parliament while Congress General Secretary (Communications) Jairam Ramesh asked Modi when would he have a “pareeksha pe charcha” (debate on exams)”. AAP and several student organisations like AISA, SFI and SIO too held protests in Delhi and other places.

The Opposition accuses the government of not understanding the gravity of the situation referring to Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan’s initial statements when he claimed that there are no irregularities in the conduct of NEET exam though states were investigating malpractices.

It is not the NEET and UGC-NET but other incidents since June 4 have also put the government on the spot. The Opposition will also be targeting the government over the train mishap in West Bengal with Railway Minister Ashwani Vaishnaw coming under the radar.

While violence in Manipur had continued with Sangh fountainhead RSS advising the government to ensure peace, four terror strikes in four days from the day Modi was sworn in also created trouble for the government. Home Minister Amit Shah held two separate meetings on Manipur and Jammu and Kashmir to review the security scenario. 

Along with this, the joint Opposition also seeks to corner the Modi government over what it calls a “stock market scam” linked to “manipulated exit polls” during the upcoming Parliament session.

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Published 20 June 2024, 08:58 IST

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