DMK showers freebies on voters

Assembly elections 2011: The party offers almost everything free

Karunanidhi hits the free way again.The ruling DMK on Saturday offered almost everything free. From grinders or mixies to women and ticketless rides on government buses in cities and towns for the aged, it’s a freebies binge.

Also on offer are free rice to below poverty families and a hike in marriage aid to women from Rs 25,000 to Rs 30,000.

In what appears to be a panic reaction to the consolidation of the AIADMK-led opposition, and the fast-paced developments over the 2G spectrum scam revelations, the DMK stunned one and all with its manifesto for the April 13 Assembly polls.

DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi, in a 90-minute public speech at the party headquarters Anna Arivalayam, took the large gathering to rapturous heights, as he rolled out one new promise after another covering almost every section from farmers, weavers, hutment dwellers, the middle class voter and, of course, women.

Seeking a fresh mandate for another five years, Karunanidhi fervently urged: “Order us to serve you once again by returning us victoriously in the coming elections to save Indian democracy and secularism”. The DMK also pledged to ensure a stable Central government.

While promising to continue the free colour TV scheme that was among the highlights of the 2006 poll manifesto, Karunanidhi said this time, “we have decided to offer women folks either a free mixie or grinder to reduce their domestic hardships.”

Though Karunanidhi admitted that some of the promises made in the 2006 manifesto like resolving the Cauvery and Mullaiperiyar issues, besides implementing the Sethu Samudram Canal project could not be fulfilled due to legal and bureaucratic hurdles “placed on our path”, he sought to make up for it with an array of fresh freebies.

Karunanidhi announced that the cheap rice scheme (at Rs 1 per kg) will continue for ration card-holders, unmindful of the huge subsidy burden. However, for the “poorest of the poor”living below the poverty line, the 35 kg of rice per family per month will be given free under the Antyaodhya Anna Yojana if the DMK was voted back to power.

The DMK promised three instead of earlier two pairs of free uniforms for kids studying in government schools besides announcing free laptops to every student in the first year of their graduate professional courses in government-run and government-aided colleges.
Students of backward, most backward and scheduled caste communities will be entitled to free laptops once they join a professional course.

DMK General Secretary K Anbazhagan said the party’s manofesto “is like a new heroine”whose charismatic sway will be surely felt.

Free state

*Mixies, grinders
* Rice for BPL families
* Rs 30K marriage aid
* Laptops for students
* Metro Rail project for Coimbatore and Madurai
* Loan waiver for farmers and weavers

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