Election manifestos in Tamil Nadu are one of a kind as politicians come up with lists that present a great vision for the future, offer mundane material benefits, and provide outlandish promises, which few believe will ever be fulfilled. However, everyone still looks forward to these manifestos, as at least a handful of what has been promised, gets done.
In 1967, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) offered every ration cardholder around 4.5 kg rice for a rupee if they came into power. The party could not deliver on its promise despite winning the elections. However, All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), who promised 20 kg rice free to every ration cardholder as part of its 2011 election manifesto, delivered.
However, TN has come far from just promising free ration kits though. It started when DMK promised free colour TV to every house in 1996 and came through with it. Soon, it’s been promises of televisions, mixers, fans, laptops, and more by the parties. Besides offering household electronic goods, the parties have also waived loans, provided free bus passes to students and women, given marriage assistance for girls in the form of gold and cash and so on.
On March 14, AIADMK promised at least one government job to every family in the state ahead of the upcoming TN elections. The party’s manifesto was released by Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam and other senior leaders. The key promises, apart from at least one government job per household, include ‘Amma’ homes for all, six free LPG cylinders per year for every family. The manifesto also proposes to grant dual citizenship to Sri Lankan refugees and that the seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case would be released.
TTV Dinakaran’s Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK) released its election manifesto for the upcoming Tamil Nadu Assembly elections on March 13. AMMK’s key focus areas are employment and farmer schemes, in addition to bringing back the schemes introduced during Jayalalithaa’s rule
The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam released an 89-page manifesto on March 7. DMK president MK Stalin listed several promises including reserving 75 per cent of jobs in industries for Tamils, increasing the reservation for women to 40 per cent in government jobs, and appointing 215 persons from various caste groups as priests in temples.
Makkal Needhi Maiam founder Kamal Haasan on March 4 unveiled the party’s election manifesto specifically for women, youth welfare, and the development of sports hours before he began his election campaign in Alandur. When DMK read out their manifesto, he accused the party of copying his poll promises of providing a monthly salary for homemakers, creation of 50 lakh job opportunities, and uplifting people living below the poverty line. Kamal Haasan will contest the Tamil Nadu polls from the Coimbatore South constituency.
Meanwhile the actor-cum-politician faced a brief security scare on Sunday after a man allegedly attempted to open the window of his car in the Kancheepuram district. The incident took place while Kamal was on his way to Chennai after addressing a public meeting. The man, who police later said is a fan of Kamal, attempted to open the window while the car was passing through the crowd. The accused, reportedly drunk, was allegedly assaulted by some MNM supporters and members of the public. He was later taken to a hospital by the police.
Elections to the 234-member TN assembly will be held on April 6 and the counting of votes will be on May 2.