The freebie race has kicked off in Tamil Nadu ahead of the April 6 Assembly elections. After DMK president M.K. Stalin announced a monthly allowance of Rs 1,000 for homemakers every month, the AIADMK today upped it to Rs 1,500.
Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami said that the allowance was part of the AIADMK’s manifesto but the DMK got wind of it and announced it hurriedly on Sunday. Palaniswami also announced that his party, if voted back to power, would provide six free LPG cylinders to each family in a year. Given the steep hike in LPG prices this should prove to be a major concession to bring down the household bill.
Usually the DMK and AIADMK slug it out only through their respective manifestoes. But this time they decided to jump the gun with Stalin using the stage at his party’s massive public meeting at Tiruchy on Sunday when he was to release his party’s vision document for Tamil Nadu’s growth in the next ten years.
The DMK leader surprised everyone by announcing the assured allowance to housewives which became the headlines on Monday. But MNM leader Kamal Haasan rightfully complained that Stalin had only copied the promise from his party’s manifesto which has promised a salary for homemakers since their work is unrecognized. Kamal had also promised free computers for every home.
Now the AIADMK is selling the same concept of giving allowance for housewives with a clear eye on the women's votes. The free LPG cylinders are also tailored to attract their votes. The EPS government has already waived off co-operative farms loans, jewel loans taken for agriculture and loans taken by women self-help groups ahead of the model code kicking in. At that time Stalin had complained that EPS was implementing his proposals.
With both the major parties giving final shape to their respective manifestoes one can expect a slew of freebies and concessions being dangled in front of the already spoilt Tamil voter. Meanwhile the Times Now-C-Voter opinion polls predicted a clean sweep by the DMK-led front.