A political blame game has erupted between ruling Congress and opposition BJP in Karnataka over non-inclusion of Kannada among the languages for holding the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test for admission in medical colleges for the academic year 2017-18.
As chief minister Siddaramaiah sought to put the onus on the Centre, union minister Ananth Kumar hit back citing the state government had written to the Centre suggesting that the exam be held in English.
“Our government had written a letter stating that NEET exams should be held in Kannada also, still it has not been done. I have asked the Chief Secretary to write a letter,” Siddaramaiah said.
Speaking to reporters in Mysuru, he said, “It is wrong. We have written a letter, but what are our BJP ministers (at the Centre) and MPs doing? Don’t they have the responsibility? They have won from Karnataka... what are they doing?”
The Union Health Ministry on December 21 had said NEET exams for admission in medical colleges will be held in eight languages - Hindi, English, Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Marathi, Tamil and Telugu.
Taking strong exception to Kannada being left out, the Chief Minister said, “Omitting Kannada... is a wrong thing, we are writing a protest letter also.”
However, Ananth Kumar held the state government responsible for it.
Speaking to reporters in Delhi, he said, “When the Centre asked the states about the language for NEET exams in their respective states in November, Karnataka government’s medical education department had clearly said in writing that the exams be held in English.”
“It is only three days ago that they have awakened and sought that the exams be held in Kannada,” he added.
The Kannada Development Authority (KDA) has called the move to exclude the language a “great injustice” to seven crore Kannadigas.
Karnataka is considered to be the home for highest number of medical colleges in the country.