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NEET turns into a major campaigning issue in Urban local body polls of TN

- February 14, 2022

Chennai, Feb 14 (BPNS)

The National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test (NEET) has turned into a major election issue for the Urban local body polls to be held in Tami Nadu on February 19 after a gap of ten years.

While the issue was not of major importance till the last date of filing of nominations on February 4th, it snowballed into controversy and one to be discussed in the polls later.

The returning of the Bill moved by the Tamil Nadu assembly in September 2021 by Governor R.N. Ravi last week triggered the controversy to take the centre stage in the urban local body polls of Tamil Nadu.

The AIADMK raised the issue that it was during the Congress-led UPA regime in which DMK was part and parcel as a constituent that the NEET was formulated in the country. AIADMK leaders and former Chief Ministers, O.Panneerselvam and Edappadi K. Palaniswami countered Chief minister M.K. Stalin that the DMK was not practicing what it preached and that it was the ruling party that had supported the NEET bill in parliament when the UPA government had moved it.

Stalin responded by stating that there was never an instance of a NEET exam held in Tamil Nadu during the previous government of the DMK and that it was after Edappadi K. Palaniswami becoming Chief Minister that the exam was held in the state.

The BJP has also taken up NEET as a major issue in the elections stating that it was because of NEET that several students from poor backgrounds got admissions to government Medical colleges in Tamil Nadu.

BJP leader Pon Radhakrishnan who is a former Union Minister while speaking to BPNS said, “ NEET has given life to students from poor backgrounds in Tamil Nadu get admission to Government medical colleges in the state which would not have been possible earlier. Centralized system of exams are good for society and students are benefitting.”

However, with the two Dravidian majors accelerating the campaign centered around NEET, the voice of BJP has become much feeble and may even lead to backfire against it.

With NEET taking up the centre stage other contentious issues raised by the AIADMK like the poor quality of materials in the gift hampers for Pongal, failure of the DMK government to provide Rs 1000 monthly emoluments to women as promised in the assembly elections have taken a back seat.

M. Periyasamy, AIADMK leader from Erode while speaking to BPNS said, “ We will counter the allegations leveled by the DMK against us vis a vis NEET as it was the DMK which was part of the then UPA government that supported formulating NEET in the country, not the AIADMK.”