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It's raining sops in TN

india Updated: Apr 02, 2011 11:22 IST
KV Lakshmana

Should the Election Commission now step in to examine whether these constitute a violation of the electoral code of conduct?

Independent candidate MA Shahjahan has promised each voter a Nano car if elected, besides a cellphone, genset, free cable TV and pocket money for all students irrespective of caste.

And, unlike other parties, he is clear as to how he would fund his promises: by recovering all the 2G spectrum money that has been misappropriated.

But one thing almost certain is that this advocate, who has lost two Lok Sabha elections and contesting now from Salem North, 300 km west of Chennai, has no chances of winning.

Every political party, left, right, or centre, is out to allure the voter with blandishments this time. This seems to be the common poll strategy.

On the heels of the DMK and AIADMK, the BJP and the Left came out with their own promises. While the Left is part of the AIADMK camp, the BJP is without any popular or credible ally and is a fringe player in Tamil Nadu politics. But this has not stopped it from aping the Dravidian parties in manifesto making.

It too has promised a free laptop, free pencils to students, sanitary napkins to girls, and Rs 1,00,000 in cash deposit in the name of every girl child born in a BPL family.

A free laptop for students is not a freebie, says BJP state president Pon Radhakrishan, arguing that students are not voters, though the voting age is 18 and above. The CPI(M), however, has limited its promise to providing for food, clothing and shelter. Its manifesto promises 35 kg free rice a month per BPL family, unemployment dole of Rs 1,000 a month, housing plots for the poor and land reform laws.