Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Wednesday accused the MK Stalin-led Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam government of not taking appropriate steps to abolish the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test for admission to medical courses.

From 2017, the central government has made NEET compulsory for students across all states and education boards. In Tamil Nadu, medical admissions were given on the basis of marks scored in Class 12 examination conducted by the state education board. But NEET was prepared by the Central Board of Secondary Education, based on its own syllabus, which differed greatly from Tamil Nadu board’s syllabus. For this reason, the Tamil Nadu government had been opposing the examination, stating that a common entrance test would harm the prospects of state board students.

Palaniswami on Wednesday claimed that the DMK’s promise to scrap the exam in its manifesto for the Assembly polls was merely an election gimmick.

The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam called on the ruling party in the state to fulfil its promises. “Stalin claimed that in 24 hours after becoming chief minister he will get NEET exams cancelled,” the AIADMK leader said. “The people of Tamil Nadu have not forgotten this. Stop betraying students.”

Palaniswami said the Centre’s announcement that the exam will be held on September 12 was a blow to students who believed Stalin’s promises, The Times of India reported.

In line with its promise, the DMK had in June set up a high-level committee, led by retired High Court Judge AK Rajan, to study the impact of NEET on aspirants from socially disadvantaged sections of the society.

The panel submitted its report to Stalin on Wednesday, according to The Indian Express. It took into account 86,000 representations from different stakeholders. Speaking to the media after submitting the report, Justice Rajan said most of the students did not want NEET.

The BJP had opposed the setting up of this panel. On Tuesday, the Madras High Court dismissed party leader K Nagarajan’s petition to quash the state government’s order to form the committee, The Hindu reported.

Stalin described the court’s decision as a blow to the double standards the of BJP and AIADMK, The Times of India reported.

Palaniswami criticised the remark. “Stalin is now lashing at us to hide his inability,” he was quoted as saying by the newspaper. “He has issued a statement without any political decency and unaware of his position as the chief minister.”

The former Tamil Nadu chief minister spoke about his efforts to benefit students. “Only six government school students got admission in medical courses in 2019,” he said, according to The Times of India. “I made sure that such a situation should change. Even when Opposition leader Stalin or public had not represented, I set up retired judge Kalaiarasan-led committee and accepted the recommendations and enacted a law to provide 7.5% quota and realised the dreams of students.”