The DMK today lashed out at the BJP-led government at the Centre and the ruling AIADMK in Tamil Nadu on the NEET issue, charging them with “betraying” scores of medical aspirants in the state, especially those from rural areas. It led an agitation which was attended by a number of other parties, on the issue here, two days after the Centre told the Supreme Court that it was not in favour of the recent ordinance passed by Tamil Nadu to exempt it from the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) this year. Subsequently, the court has asked the state government to start counselling for admissions for MBBS and BDS seats in the state based on the NEET merit list and complete the process by September 4.
Counselling got underway yesterday. Leading the protest here today, DMK working president and Leader of Opposition M K Stalin said the introduction of NEET had “betrayed” thousands of rural students who had aspired to join medical courses. The protest is being held in the backdrop of Tamil Nadu “pawning its rights before Central government,” he said. “How many rural students have been betrayed. How their dreams have been buried. This is because of the BJP at the Centre and the AIADMK in Tamil Nadu,” Stalin said. The protest was attended by the DMK’s ally the Congress, CPI(M), CPI, VCK and MMK. Stalin said the DMK had always opposed NEET and recalled that entrance exams were done away during earlier DMK rule and admission to medical courses in Tamil Nadu were so far based on marks secured in Class 12 exams.
The BJP-led government’s move to implement NEET would “affect social justice,” he said, adding the existing reservation policy in Tamil Nadu would be subsequently affected. Stalin said his party had, in the students’ interest, supported the two bills moved by the Tamil Nadu government in the Assembly in February this year to ensure continuance of medical admissions based on Class 12 exam marks. He also took a dig at the frequent meetings Chief Minister K Palaniswami and some of his Cabinet colleagues had with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and some other Union ministers on the NEET exemption issue. Stalin expressed anger over NEET merit list released by the state government yesterday and said of the top 20 candidates, only five of them were from state board and many of them were from “other states.”
“The anguish of the youth will not spare you. Their anger will not allow you to continue in government,” he said in an apparent reference to the ruling AIADMK, adding only if the AIADMK government goes things would look up in Tamil Nadu. Claiming that there would be a “change of government soon”, Stalin, however, said his party was “not desperate to come to power.” “Ruling is a big responsibility… We don’t want to do that (come to power) by adopting back-door means and this is the policy of ‘Kalaignar’ (DMK president M Karunanidhi),” he said.