Writing in his weekly column in the Ananda Vikatan, actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan expressed his opposition to the all-Indian medical test - NEET that has long been bone of contention between the Centre and Tamil Nadu. The Makkal Needhi Maiam President also said that education should not be locked away in the central list.
He wrote, "It is wrong to lock away education in the Central list. That is a hindrance for us. Let the Central government please take this up with states that are performing poorly in education. Don't drag us- a forward looking state- backwards.”
In addition to talking about the various plans he has in store for improving education in government schools, he made it clear that his party was against NEET.
“I would like to clarify two things. They have suddenly forced NEET upon us, just like Hindi. Some say, when the whole country is embracing it, we can too. This is wrong. The students who have graduated from our existing system are the ones who have made Tamil Nadu top most in healthcare. We have risen to such a level that foreigners come here for treatment. Then why have a NEET that tortures our future doctors? Yes, NEET doesn't have our support. That is the stance of Makkal Needhi Maiam,” he wrote.
Kamal had stated in a question and answer session at the party launch last week that quality education would be a top priority of the party. Writing in his weekly column on Thursday, he elaborated on this and said development of villages and agriculture, quality education and employment will also be important to him and his party.
The MNM leader, who had also announced his move to adopt eight villages in Tamil Nadu, elaborated his plan, "If the government acts as a hindrance to this village development, then it only means our platform is strengthened. If they help, then it means they are participating in our platform. They only have two choices."
Arguing against the idea of total prohibition, Kamal wrote, “It is my opinion that the whole community cannot be converted into teetotallers. If we do that there would more murders than the tortures that are caused by alcoholism.”
Kamal’s stance is contrary to the positions taken by a number of Dravidian parties including the AIADMK that had promised phased prohibition in the 2016 Assembly Elections. Arguing that promises of prohibition by other parties is to buy women’s votes, Kamal goes on to say, “If we bring total prohibition, a mafia will be created. We have seen this happen in world history. This is not a race. Gambling can be stopped. But this sudden stopping the human body cannot handle. This is a disease that the body asks for. It can be reduced. But, it is doubtful whether it can be prohibited totally.”
On February 21, the actor had launched Makkal Needhi Maiam, his political party, in Madurai. Having begun his day from former President late APJ Abdul Kalam's residence in Rameswaram, he unfurled the party flag in red, white and black hues at the Ottakattai Grounds in Madurai. His party launch from Madurai was attended by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and AAP leader Somnath Bharti.
Kamal Haasan's next public meeting is scheduled for April 4.