DMK’s Intensified Campaign Against NEET Sparks Political Divide
The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) will be holding a National Entrance-cum-Eligibility Test (NEET) abolition campaign next week, which is contributing to the intensification of the anti-NEET movement in Tamil Nadu. In an effort to abolish the medical entrance examination, the DMK, the state’s ruling party, went on a hunger strike last month.
The DMK opposes NEET, contending that it is anti-social justice while maintaining that it benefits urban students and those who have access to coaching institutes. According to media reports, the DMK has now called on all sections to join the campaign against NEET. Former minister and AIADMK MLA RB Udhayakumar was urged to take part in the campaign by Minister for Youth Welfare and Sports Udhayanidhi Stalin. This sparked a political divide between both the DMK and AIADMK, and Udhayanidhi responded by bringing up the AIIMS project, which has been on hold since 2019.
NEET PG 2023 Cut-Off Reduced to ‘Zero’
Soon after the NEET PG cut-off was lowered to zero, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, M. K. Stalin, pointed out that the DMK’s position on NEET abolition is fair in a post published on ‘X’. “The Union BJP Government has accepted that benefit of NEET is ZERO! By reducing the NEET PG cut-off to ‘zero’, they are accepting that ‘eligibility’ in National ‘Eligibility’ Cum Entrance Test is meaningless. It’s just about coaching centres and paying for the exam. No more qualification is required,” Stalin remarked.
The Union BJP Government has accepted that benefit of #NEET is #ZERO! By reducing the NEET PG cut-off to ‘zero’, they are accepting that ‘eligibility’ in National ‘Eligibility’ Cum Entrance Test is meaningless. It’s just about coaching centres and paying for the exam. No more… — M.K.Stalin (@mkstalin) September 21, 2023
Stalin continued by claiming that NEET has nothing to do with merit, echoing what the DMK has maintained throughout. He added that NEET has devolved into a mere formality, with no actual eligibility requirements. Udhaynidhi Stalin has also voiced opposition to the NEET PG 2023 amended cut-off when the Union Health Ministry lowered it to zero. He took to the microblogging site ‘X’, formerly known as Twitter and wrote, “The notification of @MoHFW_INDIA reducing the NEET PG qualifying percentile to zero shows the true ‘standard’ of the entrance test.”
The notification of @MoHFW_INDIA reducing the NEET PG qualifying percentile to zero shows the true ‘standard’ of the entrance test. The DMK has always said that NEET was imposed by the union government only to benefit the private coaching centres and private medical colleges.… pic.twitter.com/AtJ3koh6hk — Udhay (@Udhaystalin) September 20, 2023
Tamil Nadu Anti-NEET Bill Faces Setbacks
The Tamil Nadu Anti-NEET bill was passed two times in the assembly, however, failed to gain additional approvals. According to Udhayanidhi Stalin, Tamil Nadu’s Minister for Youth Welfare and Sports, the DMK is staging a series of rallies to end NEET, which has claimed 21 lives in a span of seven years.
DMK’s Call for Unity Against NEET
The DMK’s campaign against NEET has intensified with a call for unity against the controversial medical entrance test. The party argues that NEET perpetuates inequality in access to medical education and disproportionately benefits those with the means to access coaching centers.
Minister for Youth Welfare and Sports Udhayanidhi Stalin has reached out to former minister and AIADMK MLA RB Udhayakumar to join the campaign against NEET. This move has ignited a political confrontation between the DMK and AIADMK.
AIIMS Project and Political Tensions
The political standoff escalated when Udhayanidhi Stalin raised concerns about the AIIMS (All India Institute of Medical Sciences) project, which has been on hold since 2019. This move added fuel to the ongoing feud between the DMK and AIADMK, as the AIIMS project remains a contentious issue in Tamil Nadu.
DMK’s Stance on NEET
The DMK has consistently voiced its opposition to NEET, arguing that the examination is biased in favor of affluent urban students and those with access to expensive coaching institutes. The party contends that NEET undermines social justice and hinders the aspirations of many deserving students who lack the resources to compete on an equal footing.
DMK leader M. K. Stalin has reiterated that NEET no longer serves as a measure of merit but has degenerated into a mere ritual devoid of genuine eligibility standards. The recent decision to reduce the NEET PG cut-off to zero by the Union Health Ministry has further fueled the DMK’s arguments against the test.
The DMK’s intensified campaign against NEET has set the stage for a fierce political battle in Tamil Nadu. With prominent leaders like M. K. Stalin and Udhayanidhi Stalin taking a firm stance against the controversial medical entrance test, the issue remains a focal point of contention in the state’s political landscape. As the campaign gains momentum, it remains to be seen whether the DMK can garner the support needed to achieve its goal of abolishing NEET in Tamil Nadu.