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Rashmi Ranjan

Amid stiff opposition to NEET in Tamil Nadu, the ruling DMK's deputy leader in Parliament Kanimozhi met Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday and sought his support to stop the Centre's alleged interference in admissions to medical colleges set up by state governments.

Kanimozhi was in Odisha as part of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin's outreach to chief ministers of non-BJP states over the issue.

Kanimozhi handed over the letter to Patnaik and explained him the problems faced by students from rural areas and poor households in clearing the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) for admission into MBBS courses, a statement issued by the Chief Minister's Office (CMO) said.

In his Letter, the Tamil Nadu chief minister drew the attention of Patnaik to the problems faced by students in clearing NEET (undergraduate) examination and also stressed on the need to make the examinations inclusive, the statement said.

"The expert committee gave a report to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik about how the NEET is discriminatory and not a yardstick of a good student. CM Patnaik has said that he would look into the matter," said A Srabanan, DMK Spokesperson.

As per reports, several candidates appearing for NEET have ended their lives in Tamil Nadu over the years due failure to clear the nationwide entrance examination, prompting the state assembly to pass a bill to dispense with NEET and allow admission on the basis of class 12 marks to ensure "social justice".

While a delegation of DMK MPs met Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy on Monday, Kanimozhi was deputed to meet Patnaik, who had earlier raised the issue with the Centre and stressed the importance of making national examinations inclusive, including those for admission to the IITs and those that are conducted by the UPSC.

There was no official word on whether the two leaders discussed politics.

Meanwhile, educationalists and students in Odisha have said that there should be national-level examination like NEET for quality education and selection of right candidates.
"National-level entrance examinations like NEET, JEE and other competitive tests are need for Odisha students," said Sunil Kumar Sarangi, an educationalist. 

Similarly, Asutosh Panigrahi, a student said, "Class 12 students of CBSE boards are scoring 98 to 99 per cent mark with ease. However, for CHSE board, scoring 92 per cent mark is a tough task. So there should be an entrance examination for medical and engineering courses."

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