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Freebies rain on Tamil Nadu voters

Mar 26, 2011 10:23 AM IST Politics Politics

Hyderabad: Will the political imperative to match each other sop for sop bankrupt Tamil Nadu? That's the fear after the AIADMK promised everything the DMK did and then some.

For a family of four, the DMK promises a choice - of a free wet grinder or a mixer. The AIADMK family will get a wet grinder, a mixer and a fan.

The student will get a free laptop if he or she is a first year student from a backward-caste family if the DMK is voted back in. Whereas Jayalalithaa will has promised free laptops to all 11th and 12th standard students.

For families below the poverty line, the DMK's offering free concrete houses whereas the AIADMK is offering a subsidy of Rs 1.8 lakhs for environmentally friendly houses with solar lights for up to Rs 3 lakh families. The AIADMK also has a subsidy of Rs 1 lakh for middle class families.

The opposition also has another sop - money for girls who are marrying - Rs 25,000 and 4 grams of gold and double that for graduates.

Clearly sections of Tamil Nadu are due for a windfall of sorts, but is it all legal?

Jai Prakash Narayan, President, Lok Satta said, "Free TVs, laptops, rice being given away in Tamil Nadu is unconstitutional. And if the Election commission continues to ignore this, the day is not far when parties will also start promising free liquor bottles. We have to draw the line somewhere or we can kiss democracy and transparency a goodbye.

It may be good politics, is it good economics? For the poor of Tamil Nadu looking to break into the big bazaar buy one, get one free economy, the answer to that question doesn't matter.