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With AIADMK win, voters eye freebies of laptops, gold mangalsutra

Friday May 13, 2011 09:26:33 PM, IANS

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Chennai: Now that the AIADMK has won a thumping victory in Tamil Nadu, voters are eyeing the freebies, including laptops for students, gold mangalsutras for women, free fans etc., promised by party chief J. Jayalalithaa.

As scores of AIADMK supporters celebrated the party’s win by bursting firecrackers and distributing sweets, they were also looking forward to the shower of freebies promised in the party manifesto.

AIADMK has promised 20 kg of free rice for ration-card holders, laptops for students from Class 11, mangalsutra with four grams gold, free fans, mixers and grinders to all, free bus passes for those 58 years and above and 20 litres of mineral water to below poverty line (BPL) families.

Apart from this, four sets of uniform and footwear for students, six months’ maternity leave for women and Rs.12,000 as maternity allowance has also been assured.

Speaking to IANS, an AIADMK MP on condition of anonymity, said: “We have done a lot of things which we hadn’t in the last few elections. The freebies was one such thing. Unlike DMK, we give useful things for the people, right from Puratchi Thalaivar M.G Ramachandran (MGR) period we had launched useful things, one such is the mid-day meal scheme for schoolchildren.”

V. Ramani, a government employee, said: “All the freebies are part of the tax we pay and I’m happy with the Jayalalithaa’s bag of freebies than DMK’s. More than the television set, the facilities provided by the DMK - like Re.1 per kilo rice scheme, 108 free emergency ambulance services and the Kalaignar Insurance Scheme were useful, I hope it is not changed by the new government.”

Krithika Anand, a cable TV operator, said: “The DMK promised to distribute colour television sets, but it is a known fact that about 10 lakh TV sets are lying in the godown. These election manifestos are just eye wash. Let’s see what the AIADMK will do, how many will get mixies, grinders and four grams of mangalsutra.”

The DMK-led Tamil Nadu government had procured more than 1.5 million TV sets at Rs.3,500 crore to distribute one to each ration cardholder, regardless of income.

Speaking to IANS, N. Gopalaswami, former election commissioner, said Tamil Nadu is high up in the list of poll irregularities

“After 2006, poll irregularities like booth capturing, distribution of freebies and use of muscle power are increasingly seen in Tamil Nadu. The election commission had seized Rs.60 crore which is a huge amount,” Gopalaswami said.

Chief Election Commissioner S.Y. Quraishi also expressed serious concern over the growing influence of money power in the poll process.

According to the CEC, about Rs.70 crore was seized from the four states and one union territory that went to the polls in April-May. Of this, Rs.60 crore was seized from Tamil Nadu alone.



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