Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami on Saturday announced Pongal bonanza of Rs 2,500 in cash and gift hamper to all 2.6 crore rice ration cardholders in the state to celebrate the harvest festival. Pongal is celebrated across the state with much fervour in January to usher in the auspicious Tamil month ‘Thai’ when marriages are conducted and new business ventures initiated.
The cash as well as the Pongal gift bag would be distributed through the fair price shops from January 4, 2021 onwards, the Chief Minister said while speaking at Irupali in the district.
Prior to the distribution of the goodies at fair price shops, the government would issue tokens to beneficiaries at their doorstep, specifying the date and time for obtaining the gift hampers. “The rice ration cardholders will be provided one kg each of raw rice and sugar, 20 grams of cashew and raisins, 8 gms of cardamom besides a sugarcane. These will be neatly wrapped in a cloth bag," Palaniswami said, adding that this time the government would give away a whole sugarcane not just a piece as was the practice in the past.
Earlier on Saturday, the CM launched the AIADMK’s poll campaign for the 2021 Assembly elections, saying he never thought that he would come to the “god-given" top post one day.
“I never thought of becoming chief minister. This is god-given… I utilised it to serve the people," Palaniswami said, adding that his rural background and education in a state-run school helped him understand difficulties of the people. Launching the campaign from his native Edappadi constituency, he indicated that life after becoming chief minister was challenging.
“Some questioned whether my rule will continue after Jayalalithaa’s demise. Now my government has successfully completed four years in office and is all set to step into an election year," Palaniswami said. “We tackled drought, cyclones and now have brought the Covid-19 pandemic under control," the chief minister said, commencing his election campaign after offering prayers at the Senraya Perumal temple in Periya Sorgai village.