Jayalalitha vies with MK in doling out freebies

AIADMK supremo Jayalalitha releases her  party’s manifesto in Tiruchirapalli  on Thursday. PTI

Announcing the party’s manifesto after filing her nomination papers from Srirangam constituency, Jayalalitha offered free rice to ration card holders through the public distribution system. Currently, they get rice at Rs one per kg.

The manifesto promised womenfolk “free electric fans, mixies and grinders”, going a step ahead of the rival DMK’s promise of “either free mixies or grinders” for women electors.
While DMK chief M Karunanidhi at the campaign launch at Tiruvarur on Wednesday extended the free laptop scheme to all categories of students entering professional courses in government and state-aided colleges, Jayalalitha has extended the sop to all school students at the tenth and Plus Two level. The party, like the DMK, has also pledged to give ‘free bus passes’ to all citizens above 58 years to travel free on local routes of all government buses.

Enhancing the old-age pension to Rs 1,000 per month, the AIADMK announced that the ‘Kalaignar Housing scheme’ announced by the DMK was unworkable. So, the AIADMK, if voted to power, will implement a massive eco-friendly ‘Green Houses’ scheme to the poor that will rely on use of solar power. The State will build these ‘300 sq feet houses’ free for three lakh below poverty line (BPL) families, at cost of Rs 1.80 lakh each.

Amma’ also promised three cents of land  free to poor homeless families. Vowing to work for a ‘second green revolution’ in the state, the AIADMK manifesto unbundled a host of sops for the agriculture sector, including free drip irrigation project to all farmers.

The party also increased the aid under the ‘Marriage Assistance Scheme’ for women, beyond the present Rs 25,000 per beneficiary, and rolled out a liberal loan scheme for self-help groups (SHG). The BPL families will also get free packaged potable drinking water up to 20 litres per family.

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