AIADMK's top leader O Panneerselvam today urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to abolish the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) and other similar examinations for all professional and other courses.
A day after Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin urged PM Modi to cancel all national level tests like NEET and allow Tamil Nadu to fill professional seats, including the MBBS seats, based on class 12 marks, Mr Panneerselvam backed the DMK government's position.
Till her death in 2016, late AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa had strongly opposed NEET and AIADMK government (2011-21) opposed it all along and two Bills were also adopted in the state Assembly in 2017 but to no avail, Mr Panneerselvam said in a letter to PM Modi.
Listing the difficulties faced by Tamil Nadu students, especially those belonging to socially and economically backward groups, he said there is a need for separate coaching to take the test since it is modelled on NCERT-CBSE curriculum and they cannot afford the fees charged by coaching centres.
Introduction of NEET has made it difficult for aspirants from the marginalised communities of Tamil Nadu to pursue medical education, he said.
Sanctioning 11 medical colleges for Tamil Nadu in recent times, besides the AIIMS in Madurai and cancellation of the Class 12 CBSE board examinations were well received and highly appreciated, Mr Panneerselvam, popularly known as OPS, said.
Similarly, OPS, the former Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister requested PM Modi "to take a uniform policy decision to abolish not only the NEET for enrolment in medical courses but also the common entrance examinations for all the professional and other courses forever."
The Centre should allow states to make admission based on the marks obtained by students in their higher secondary examination and "for which act of kindness, the people of Tamil Nadu will ever be grateful to you," the AIADMK leader said.
Almost all political parties of Tamil Nadu, including the DMK and AIADMK, had for long opposed the NEET.
One of the grounds for their opposition is that such tests went against social justice and denied opportunities to students from socially disadvantaged groups and aspirants from rural regions. NEET continues to be one of the much politically debated issues in Tamil Nadu.
On June 5, the Tamil Nadu government announced cancellation of Class 12 state board examinations and said a panel will be set up to decide on awarding marks to students and such marks will be the criteria for admission to college courses.