Gold ornaments for brides from families below the poverty line. Fifty per cent subsidy for working women to purchase mopeds. Free mobile phones and Rs 500 gift coupons on Pongal.
Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa announced the mother of all promises on Thursday as she showered pledges of sops and freebies on key demographics such as the poor and women that are key to winning the ongoing assembly elections.
The AIADMK’s manifesto also promised free set top box for Arasu cable TV subscribers, free laptops with internet connection to all class X and Class XII students and 100 units of free power every month, a move that will benefit around eight million consumers. Prohibition on alcohol will be introduced in phases if she comes back to power, the manifesto announced.
“Only a mother knows what her children need. Which is why, I gave much more than what I had promised in the last elections,” she said.
“In the future too, I will come out schemes and projects that you cannot even dream of or expect.”
Then there is a huge relief for the farmers, as she promised a loan waiver for farmers and announced the Amma banking card for the poor and government subsidy to entrepreneurs. For this purpose, she announced the starting of Amma Collateral Gurantee Fund with a seed capital of Rs 100 crore for small and marginal institutions.
20% land on SME industrial parks will be reserved for SC/ST entrepreneurs.
The manifesto said the government will take over the sale of beach minerals as there was huge corruption in the sector. A new granite policy is also on the cards. On the corruption front, the AIADMK government would constitute a Lokayukta.
Releasing the much-awaited manifesto, Jayalalithaa said that she was 24X7 working for the welfare of the people of the state. Her AIADMK is locked in a triangular fight with the DMK-Congress combine and a third front led by Captain Vijaykanth.
Expectations were running high as Jayalalithaa kept waiting for the right time to come out with the manifesto as the Opposition spread all kind of rumours to raise the expectations of the people. WhatsApp messages and newspapers reports suggested Amma contemplating free fridges, motorcyles and washing machines.
But a senior AIADMK leader said in Chennai, the manifesto would be practical as also populist.
He was bang on target as Jayalalithaa read out the salient features of the manifesto that confirmed the continuation of all current Amma schemes and new ones in the offing.
“I did more than I promised,” Jayalalithaa said adding that in future too she would consistently and constantly think of new ways and means to reach benefit to the masses.
Jayalalithaa also took the opportunity to lash out at DMK-Congress combine and reminded them of the gigantic corruption the two parties were involved in – from 2G to Commonwealth games and she took the DMK family rule to task. “Karunanidhi is only interested in his family,” she said adding, “for me, you are the family”.