The rival factions of the ruling AIADMK on Monday approached the Centre over the issue of exempting Tamil Nadu from the National Entrance Cum Eligibility Test (NEET) for admissions to undergraduate medical courses.
A group of state ministers accompanied by senior party leader and Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker M Thambidurai called on Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in Delhi and took up the issue, over which the opposition parties have been attacking the state government.
Rebel AIADMK leader and former chief minister O Panneerselvam met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the national capital on the same issue.
The state ministers called on Singh and Jaitley days after some of their colleagues, including Health Minister C Vijayabaskar, met Modi and some other Union ministers on the NEET issue.
The ministerial delegation had on July 20 submitted a memorandum to Modi, seeking presidential nod for two bills passed recently by the state assembly aimed at exempting the state from NEET and pending with the Centre.
The bills would pave the way for the continuation of undergraduate medical admissions on the basis of Class 12 marks, exempting Tamil Nadu from the ambit of NEET.
Today(Monday), Singh "assured to favourably" look into Tamil Nadu's demand, an official release said.
Jaitley told them that he would take up the matter with Health Minister J P Nadda, it added.
The state was represented by a delegation of six ministers, including P Thangamani (Electricity), D Jayakumar (Finance) and Law Minister C V Shanmugam.
The meeting was part of the state government's assurance to exert "pressure" on the Centre on its demand for exempting the state from NEET.
The team also met Union Minister Pon Radhakrishnan on the issue.
Meanwhile, Panneerselvam met Modi and took up the demand for exempting the state from the NEET.
Accompanied by senior party leaders, including some MPs of his camp, Panneerselvam also "apprised the Prime Minister of the difficulties" faced by locals at Kathiramangalam (Thanjavur) and Neduvasal (Puthukottai) due to the hydrocarbon projects there, a release from the rival faction said.
He sought steps to ensure that people were not affected, the release added.
The stepped up efforts by the state government come amid the criticism of the DMK-led opposition parties over its "failure" to protect the interest of the state's students.
DMK Working President M K Stalin had accused the central and state governments of "betraying" the interests of the state's students.
Medical counseling was being deferred and parents were also worried, he had said last week.
The AIADMK, DMK and other parties in the state have been opposing the NEET, saying state board students, especially from rural areas, would find it difficult to compete with CBSE students.