Congress interim chief Sonia Gandhi on August 26 held a virtual meeting with the chief ministers of four Congress-ruled states — Chhattisgarh, Punjab, Rajasthan and Puducherry — and their counterparts of West Bengal, Maharashtra and Jharkhand to discuss various issues and evolve a joint strategy.
The issues discussed during the meeting included evolving a collective stand at the August 27 GST Council meeting, the JEE/NEET examinations, and the COVID-19 situation in the states.
Here's a rundown of who said what during the meeting:
Sonia Gandhi: The Congress chief said announcements such as those related to the National Education Policy (NEP) should "really worry us as it is actually a setback". Other problems of students and exams are also being dealt with in a careless manner.
"In the meeting of Standing Committee of Finance on August 11, Finance Secretary stated that the Centre is not in a position to pay mandatory GST compensation of 14 percent for the current year. This refusal is nothing short of betrayal on part of the Modi government," Gandhi said.
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Mamata Banerjee: The West Bengal chief minister reportedly said all the states should go to the Supreme Court together to seek postponement of the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) and the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) in view of the the COVID-19 situation.
Uddhav Thackeray: The Maharashtra chief minister said it is not 'Satyamev Jayate' or power alone triumphs, but 'Satyamev Jayate' or truth alone triumphs for them, and reportedly gave a message of unity during the meeting. He also asked how schools in the state can be allowed to open at present.
"There was a report from the US that about 97,000 children were infected by COVID-19 when schools were opened. What will we do if such a situation arises here?" Thackeray said.
Capt. Amarinder Singh: The Punjab chief minister echoed Banerjee's statement and said all of those present in the meeting should go to the Supreme Court to file a review petition on the Supreme Court's order to hold NEET and JEE exams. He also touched upon the issue of state finances.
"The COVID-19 situation is getting worse. We've spent nearly Rs 500 crore. We're in a situation where the finances of our states are completely down. The Centre has not paid GST compensation. I agree with Mamata ji that we should collectively see Prime Minister Narendra Modi," he said.Hemant Soren:
The Jharkhand chief minister was of the opinion that they should approach Prime Minister Narendra Modi or the President before approaching the Supreme Court regarding the JEE/NEET issue.