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Freebie TVs spin double delight

Tamil Nadu has a new vote bank ? the couch potatoes.

india Updated: Sep 18, 2006 05:17 IST
GC Shekhar
GC Shekhar

When M Karunanidhi set out to win the voters of the state this summer, he promised a colour television in every home. The poll battle won, the chief minister has decided to extend his largesse. Now, not one but two televisions are beaming the world into the slums of Chennai.

Jayanthi and L Kumar, who got the 14-inch government television on Saturday, have a small dilemma. Should they get a second cable connection, now that they have two colour TVs — the first a sleek 21-inch Samsung flat screen? "I plan to keep both. I'll alternate the cable connection between the two," Jayanti said.

Her mother-in-law Kokila, who lives downstairs, has no such problem. She has decided to go for a second cable connection — the first one is plugged into a giant 29-inch Bush colour television. "I'll watch the small television while I cook," her daughter Gauris says. They are not alone. Most families that have received free televisions in the Kotturpuram colony already own a bigger TV; some even a DVD player.

But, wait a second, was not the scheme meant for homes without a colour television? Kumar offers the explanation. "The government first enlisted only those homes that did not have a TV, but finally they decided to give TVs to anyone who had a ration card." Jayanthi now awaits the free gas connection promised on Pongal by the DMK government — so what if she already has one stove?

The chief minister's freebies might not be reaching the target groups but no one is complaining. The government stands to gain from the please-all scheme, with the local body elections due next month. Union communication minister Dayanidhi Maran said as much when he launched the scheme in Kotturpuram. " You should be grateful for what this government is doing for you. You should repay with your conscience during the local body elections." Dayanidhi told HT that though the scheme was launched for homes without television, eventually all homes with a ration card would get one.

Whoever said too much of anything is bad?

First Published: Sep 18, 2006 05:17 IST