War of words over NEET in TN Assembly: BJP and AIADMK blame DMK for introducing exam 10 years ago

The AIADMK and BJP cornered the DMK on the floor of Tamil Nadu Assembly on Tuesday as a war of words broke out over the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET). While DMK moved a special attention motion to discuss the NEET exams, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami said the opposition party was to be blamed for the death of the 13 students who killed themselves due to NEET.

The CM argued that the exam format was introduced in 2010 when Congress-led UPA was in power at the Centre. The DMK is a part of the UPA.

CM Palaniswami asked why the DMK did not stop Congress from introducing NEET then.

NEET has been a very sensitive topic in Tamil Nadu. Most of the political parties in the state have agreed on not wanting NEET in the state. DMK — the opposition party — has been highly critical of the state government for not being able to stop this competitive exam from taking place.

On Tuesday, DMK youth wing leader Udhayanidhi Stalin met with the family of Jyoti Durga – an 18-year-old girl who died by suicide. “The Edappadi government has been incapable of stopping NEET. In eight months, the government will change and the DMK government will ensure that NEET does not take place in the state,” Udhayanidhi Stalin said.

Despite being vocal against NEET, DMK has been blamed by both BJP and AIADMK for its introduction in the first place.

“At the time of introduction of NEET, they [UPA leaders] were focused on making money from the 2G scam. That is why they forgot other topics. Now, when they are in opposition they are doing politics on the issue. I only want to tell them to not play with the students’ lives. What did you do when you were in power” You are provoking the students. They were in power when this exam was first introduced. Now, they are using it for political mileage,” Tamil Nadu BJP president L Murugan said.

An AIADMK spokesperson said, “If there is a political party that is fighting against the implementation of NEET in Tamil Nadu, it is the AIADMK. Ever since NEET has been implemented, we have been exploring legal options to scrap it.”

“It was our leader Amma who got the favourable order of scraping NEET across the country. It was the Congress and DMK who introduced and implemented it across the country. As a law-abiding state, we have implemented NEET as per the SC ruling. CM EPS has today announced a milestone policy that there is a reservation of 7.5 per cent for government school students with respect to medical seats. The opposition is only trying to cash in on the death of the students. We don’t want NEET but we are trying to brighten up the life of government school students with 7.5 per cent reservation,” the AIADMK spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, the DMK too has come out with its rebuttal. DMK MLA PTR Thiagarajan said, “When the bill was originally brought by the UPA, it was an optional programme. It was not compulsory in all states. In 2011, when Jayalalithaa came to power there was no NEET. In 2014, PM Narendra Modi came to power in the Centre, there was no NEET.”

Thiagarajan blamed the BJP government for implementing NEET. “The Modi government passed a new bill which forced NEET down people’s throat. The law of 2015 and the court verdict in 2016 is the reason for compulsory NEET across the nation.”

“The Tamil Nadu Assembly passed a unanimous resolution that NEET will not be applicable in the state. But the government which in 2017, was able to get an exemption in Jallikattu, kept saying similar exemption will be brought in for NEET. But it never materialised. Everybody who has blood on their hands is trying to make noise. Three people are responsible for this and they are PM Modi and courts for enforcing it and CM EPS for not having the backbone to find the way out,” the DMK MLA said.

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