It’s raining freebies in Tamil Nadu

Minister for information and special programme implementation distributed free gold in Sivakasi assembly constituency of Virudhunagar district.

shivani

Shivani Chaturvedi | March 29, 2016 | Chennai


#aiadmk   #jayalalithaa   #assembly elections 2016   #tamil nadu elections   #Tamil Nadu  
Vaani showing her steel water container with Jayalalithaa`s picture on it.
Vaani showing her steel water container with Jayalalithaa`s picture on it.

As Tamil Nadu gears up for the May 16 assembly polls, it’s raining freebies in the state, yet again. Before the model code of conduct came into effect early this month, politicians ensured to pamper the citizens with goodies. Minister for information and special programme implementation KT Rajendra Balaji distributed free gold in Sivakasi assembly constituency of Virudhunagar district. Chief minister J Jayalalithaa had issued free of cost four gram of gold for mangal sutra, a few months ago. The scheme was introduced across different districts in phases. Virudhunagar district and Sivakasi assembly constituency are the new entrants to the gold scheme. 

Apart from gold, steel water storage container is another attraction for many women this time. My domestic help Vaani showed me a steel container with Jayalalithaa’s picture on it. Her mother Padmavathi who stays in Perungalathur, a suburb in southwestern part of Chennai, gave her the container. Vaani’s mother Perungalathur informed me that they were even taken to the Mahamaham festival at Kumbakonam last month. “A van was arranged by the wife of one AIADMK worker and we were taken to the grand festival of Mahamaham that is celebrated once in 12 years,” Padmavathi told me.

Last month, distribution of school bags, note books, geometry boxes, towels and other such items were a regular affair at the Ambedkar Nagar locality as it was Amma’s birthday month. Even the first time voters were wooed with many goodies. 

Reporters say that some AIADMK cadres distributed cricket sets, volleyballs and basketball kits to college students in Bodi constituency, which is represented by state’s finance minister O Panneerselvam.

The election commission of India (ECI) has already seized crores of rupees in Tamil Nadu since the model code of conduct came into effect. On March 16, the ECI said that out of Rs 11 crore ‘illegal cash’ confiscated, Tamil Nadu accounted for Rs 7.44 crore and Kerala Rs 2.97 crore.

Chief election commissioner Nasim Zaidi had asserted last month that the election commission would put in place an effective mechanism to check the influence of money and distribution of freebies during the ensuing assembly elections in the state. 

But for now, keeping a check on this menace seems to be a big challenge for the election commission.
 

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