Jaya emulates MGR

Jaya emulates MGR

Beating the anti-incumbency factors against them, two regional outfits, the AIADMK in Tamil Nadu and the Trinamool Congress in West Bengal, have shown that they can achieve what a national party like the Congress could not do in Assam or Kerala.

The Congress was in power for 15 years in Assam and Kerala always had a rotation of the ruling party every five years. Yet, the feat of Jayalalithaa in Tamil Nadu and Mamata in West Bengal, or for that matter the winning spree of the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samiti in bypolls, is a pointer that regional parties can outbeat national parties.

Jayalalithaa’s victory has created history in Tamil Nadu—by beating anti-incumbency trend for the first time in nearly 40 years.

 The late M G Ramachandrana held that record with DMK chief M Karunanidhi unable to dislodge him from power till he was alive.

Both Jayalalithaa and Mamata are seen as successfully delivering on the ground on basic requirements through a slew of welfare measures or freebies, which the national parties loathe to provide due to resource crunch.

Besides the famous Amma canteens, where food is available across the state at a cheap price, Jayalalithaa’s freebies have included 4 goats and a cow to each BPL family, mixer-grinders and fans, free uniforms, school, bags, notebooks, geometry boxes, for all children in government schools, and cycles and laptops for class 11 and 12 students.

Six lakh women got four grams of gold and Rs 50,000 as marriage assistance. Her government also distributed 20 kg free rice every month. Free sanitary napkins, breast feeding shelters and Amma baby-care kits.

Mamata’s welfare programmes have also specifically targeted women, with education scholarships worth Rs 25,000 given to girls at 18 years to deter them from dropping out of school earlier.

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