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
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
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.