A little over weeks to go before Tamil Nadu votes, the AIADMK manifesto is possibly the only big event remaining. Most other parties have released their manifestos. According to AIADMK sources, their manifesto is likely to come out on an auspicious day this week.
The DMK, which has championed the freebie culture since 2006, has this time promised a reduction in the price of state-produced Aavin milk by Rs 7 per litre and a once-a-month electricity bill that would help save Rs 500. “In a state where you get thousands from rural areas to attend a rally for just Rs 200 and a biryani packet, the idea of a family saving Rs 210-710 a month from these two schemes will impress people,” said an official with the civil supplies department.
A senior AIADMK leader familiar with the final draft of the manifesto, prepared by a 14-member panel, said CM J Jayalalithaa would have at least one scheme that would help all households save money every month. “The feedback is that the distribution of free laptops for plus-1 and plus-2 students was a huge success. So this time, we are planning to distribute tablets for students of IX and X as well,” he said. Also, he added, Jayalalithaa might possibly reduce the power tariff to compete with the DMK.
Since the 10 per cent new voters include unemployed youth, the manifesto could also include special schemes for engineering degree holders, four lakh of whom are jobless. “One possible scheme would be self-help groups for men,” said a leader.
After rolling out more than a dozen products under brand Amma, there could be more such as Amma Laboratories for patients. Tamil Nadu has the highest number of diabetic and heart patients in the country. A state government report two years ago said 1,000 out of every 12,000 patients who visit the busiest public hospital in Chennai come for diabetes treatment.