The Bharatiya Janata Party’s Tamil Nadu unit president K Annamalai has said that people of the state wanted the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test though the ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam did not want the examination to be held there, reported the Hindustan Times on Wednesday.
The Tamil Nadu Assembly on Monday passed a Bill to scrap the NEET for admission to undergraduate medical degree courses in the state.
The proposed law sought to admit students to these courses based on the marks they got in their Class 12 board exams. Earlier, medical course admissions in Tamil Nadu were based on these marks, but the Centre had in 2017 made NEET compulsory for students across all states and boards of education.
NEET was prepared by the Central Board of Secondary Education and based on its own syllabus, which was very different from the Tamil Nadu board’s syllabus. For this reason, Tamil Nadu has been opposing the examination, arguing that a common entrance test would harm the prospects of state board students.
“It is their [DMK’s] election agenda, and they have done it,” Annamalai said in an interview to the Hindustan Times on Wednesday. “NEET turnout is more than 94% – 1,10,000 people participated [from Tamil Nadu on Sunday]. Politically, they [DMK] are playing to the gallery, trying to create emotional issues.”
The BJP had made it clear that NEET was “pro-poor, pro-social justice, pro-Tamils”, he claimed.
Annamalai said that his party believed that NEET was good for Tamil Nadu, as a student from a poor family could also get into a medical college without paying a capitation fee. He also claimed that while there are colleges with links to the DMK, but the BJP did not have such associations.
On a question about why the BJP had not become popular in Tamil Nadu, the party’s state president said that it has grown well in the last seven years.
“BJP is growing very fast in Tamil Nadu because the central BJP is paying special attention,” he said. “We are confident that in the coming years will be the BJP years. We stand for an ideology that is pro-Tamil, that is against corruption, and that is pro-development.”
When asked about criticism against the BJP’s upper-caste pro-Hindi image, Annamalai claimed that this was a narrative that was fuelled by other political parties.
He said that the BJP was paying attention to the grassroots and bringing the party to people’s doorstep. Annamalai said that as soon as the party got “critical mass [voters]”, the negative propaganda would no longer matter.
On whether the BJP would continue its alliance with the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam in the 2026 Assembly election, Annamalai said that the decision would be taken by the central Parliamentary board.