‘Some people newly emerged…’: MK Stalin's fresh salvo at PM Modi over freebies
Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin, however, refrained from speaking elaborately on the matter. Doing so, he said, will cause the issue to become politics.
Amid the ongoing row over "freebies culture", Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin on Saturday took an apparent swipe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying “education and health” cannot be put under the category. Stalin said expenditures on health and education are done to benefit the poor. “Some people have now newly emerged with the advice that there should be no freebies,” news agency PTI quoted Stalin as saying. His statement could be perceived as an indirect reference to Modi.
“The expenditure on education and health cannot be freebies. Because education is about knowledge while medicine relates to health. This government wants to implement adequate welfare schemes in both these sectors,” the Tamil Nadu chief minister said at an event at the Arulmigu Kapaleeswarar Arts and Science College in his Kolathur constituency in Chennai.
The DMK president, however, refrained from elaborating his statement. “If I talk more, it will become politics. So I don't want to talk more about this,” Stalin said.
Modi had recently slammed the political practice of offering freebies for electoral triumphs saying such steps will take away the “rights of our children” and prevent the country from becoming self-reliant.
The Centre and non-BJP-ruling states, especially the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Delhi, have been at loggerheads over the freebies culture. On Thursday, the Supreme Court, which is hearing a PIL in the matter, said all welfare schemes cannot be assembled under the ambit of freebies and that a financial discipline must be in place to address the “serious issue” of handouts as electoral promises. A bench led by CJI NV Ramana stated that a debate ought to be initiated to assess the effects of freebies on the economy of both states and taxpayers.
The war of words between the BJP and the AAP received fresh fuel on Friday after Delhi deputy CM Manish Sisodia said the Centre was trying to spread fear by claiming welfare schemes will destroy the nation. BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra, however, hit back saying AAP's national convenor and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal's sole agenda is to establish prominence in India; hence he is “speaking lies…about freebies”.
The AAP is the only political party that has, so far, moved the apex court to be heard in the freebies matter. The Centre's PIL seeks to impose curbs on electoral promises on freebies.