Saturday, Jan 29, 2022
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Mirage Of The Manifesto

Tamil Nadu parties are past masters at election promises

Mirage Of The Manifesto
Big Bro Watching -

Every year, ahead of the Tamil month of Aadi (July 15 to August 15), retail stores in Tamil Nadu—selling everything from textiles to jewellers to home appliances—flood the market with “Aadi thallupadi” (discount offers), promising the lowest prices of the year to tempt customers. During this discount season, one can witness hundreds of buyers—all eager to grab the discounted items before they fly off the shelves—lining up before the stores even before they open for business. Come election season, Tamil Nadu’s political parties tempt voters with similar schemes that go by the name of election manifestos, and are crammed with freebies and unviable promises aimed solely at grabbing votes. It is no different this year as the ruling AIADMK and its main challenger, the DMK,  vied with one another to roll out a slew of promises—many of them near replicas or slight variations of what the opponent promised.

Heading the list of competing promises is a monthly assistance to homemakers announced by the DMK. While the DMK promised them Rs 1,000 a month, the AIADMK upped the figure to Rs 1,500 and even gave the scheme a name—‘kula vilakku’, or the one who lights up the household. Poor Kamal Haasan, who originally mooted the idea of salaries for homemakers months ago, had to play catch-up with a promise of Rs 3,000 as privileged pay for women. The AIADMK’s promise of a washing ­machine and solar cooker too ­underlined this trend of women-only schemes. Indeed, in a state where female voters (3.18 crore) outnumber the males (3.08 crore), women were in the freebie crosshairs of all the parties.

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