Jayalalithaa promises free laptops, grinders, fans
Chennai: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa on Tuesday underscored her prime ministerial aspirations with a populist Lok Sabha poll manifesto promising freebies like laptops, mixer grinders and fans as well as goats, sheep and cows to the poor.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa. Pic: MiD DAY
Her AIADMK also promised free bicycles, text books, and fixed deposits to students, and solar powered homes and four gram gold as a marriage gift for poor girls.
Listing out the measures being implemented in the state under various schemes for different sections of the society, the manifesto said: "As a measure of human resource development, the AIADMK government has given utmost importance to the education and health sectors.
"At the same time, importance is also being given to social security. The AIADMK will ensure the implementation of the above laudable schemes at the all-India level.
"We have spelt out many policies and promises to implement many schemes and aims not only for the development of Tamil Nadu but also for the progress of the entire nation," Jayalalithaa told reporters here.
Incidentally the AIADMK government was taken to the Supreme Court by a city-based advocate S. Subramaniam Balaji for creating private assets out of public money by giving freebies like laptops, grinders, laptops and others.
Last July, the apex court asked the poll panel to frame guidelines to discourage political parties from promising freebies in their election manifestos as it shakes the root of free and fair elections and disturbs level playing field for the candidates.
On the political front, the AIADMK declared its faith in the "values of secularism in Indian society" and "cooperative federalism".
The manifesto also promises to overturn some of the economic policies followed by the central government much to the liking of the two Left parties with which the AIADMK has aligned for the polls.
Terming the central food security scheme as half-baked, AIADMK promised to take measures to replace it with a universal public distribution system.
The AIADMK said it will ensure there is no divestment of shares in public sector undertakings and it will would work towards completely stopping the process of privatisation.
On foreign policy, the party said long-standing border disputes with neighbouring countries should be resolved but stressed that foreign policy "should not hurt the interests of the states in the country". "Hence, the interests of the states will be kept in mind while formulating the foreign policy," it said.
The party also promised to change the oil and gas pricing mechanism and withdraw the "authority given to oil marketing companies to determine the prices of petrol and diesel".
"Action will be taken to determine the direct two-way exchange rate between the currency of different countries and the Indian rupee, i.e. a currency swap arrangement will be put in place," it said.
"A separate fund will be established to insulate and hedge the impact of variations of exchange rate on the price of petroleum products and thereby protect the common public from adverse price shocks," the party said.
According to AIADMK, action will be taken to maintain the price level of oil and domestic gas while the number of subsidised gas cylinders would be increased. It also spoke of bringing back to India black money lying in foreign banks when it is part of the new central government.
Referring to the health insurance scheme implemented in Tamil Nadu, the AIADMK has promised similar scheme on a nationwide basis.
On the Cauvery river water issue, the party promised to set up the Cauvery Management Board.
The party reiterated its stand on the Sri Lankan Tamils issue, saying it is determined to ensure that punishment is given through the International Court of Justice to all those who committed war crimes against the Tamil minorities during war against the Tamil Tigers.
"The AIADMK is also determined to move the UN to take action and render justice to the Tamils in Sri Lanka and for holding a referendum amongst Tamils in Sri Lanka and displaced Sri Lankan Tamils across the world for formation of a separate Eelam," the manifesto said.