As Tamil Nadu gears up for its assembly elections starting from April 6, candidates have been filing nominations and releasing manifestos promising people welfare schemes in case they win the polls. However, for one such candidate, the phrase ‘promising the moon’ has become literal! For 34-year-old independent candidate Saravanan from South Madurai, no manifesto promise is to be taken lightly as he listed a number of outlandish welfare schemes in his manifesto, starting from an iPhone, a car, helicopter, a boat robot and much more.
Releasing his manifesto, Saravanan stated that if he won, he will provide every household with one iPhone, a car, a helicopter, a boat, a robot, a three-storied house with a swimming pool, Rs 1 crore for youths and a 100-day vacation to the moon. Yes, to the moon!
Saravanan has also promised several infrastructure development projects that include a space research centre, a rocket launch site and an artificial iceberg that will be built to a height of 300ft in his South Madurai constituency to fight the summer heat. Saravanan has also said that he intends to promote youth participation in politics.
“Many of us do not know how to participate in elections. I’m contesting to learn the process. If people are informed, politicians will be scared. In turn, it will pave the way for better governance.”
When asked to explain his intentions behind signing up for candidature, he added, “For the election expenditure, I’ve loaned out Rs 20,000 per instalment. I’ve spent Rs 10,000 to file my nomination. There are 2,30,000 votes in South Madurai. If 5000 youths contest and win 50 votes each, no party will be able to contest in Tamil Nadu. They will fear the public. I’m contesting in this election to create awareness regarding this.”
Several people who saw the manifesto online said they believed Saravanan was probably doing it for parody, a way to hit back at those who promise a lot of good things on their manifesto and when they win, they forget all about their promises.
This has to be a parody I’m guessing. But on a serious note the actual freebies promised made me laugh as well. Especially the doubling down by the second party to make the announcement— Vidya (@Vidya151019) March 25, 2021
Really laughed after reading manifesto.😂Thank you sir— Commonman (@Commonman2k1) March 24, 2021
Dnt know if it's a coincidence..but EC has alloted a very apt symbol after reading his promises— P.A.M 🖤💙❤️ (@VinciJ6) March 24, 2021
His poll promises deliberately mocking the freebies of major parties 😁— P.A.M 🖤💙❤️ (@VinciJ6) March 24, 2021
When questioned about the outlandish manifesto, he responded, “For the past 50 years, political parties have won elections by announcing welfare schemes. Their governments never served the people. To create awareness, I released a manifesto that is so outlandish that nobody in the world has ever done.”
Election manifestos in Tamil Nadu are unique. The DMK in 1967 offered every ration card holder around 4.5 kg rice for a rupee. After winning the elections, it could not deliver on its promise. But since then, the finances of the state have improved so much that AIADMK in its 2011 election manifesto offered 20 kg rice free to every ration cardholder. It delivered too. In 2006 the DMK offered a free colour TV to every home. The party won the elections and actually procured the TVs and made them available to all the beneficiaries over a 5-year period. Since then parties have promised mixers, grinders, fans, laptops, etc., and upon winning the elections, have procured them and distributed them effectively.