Chief Minister K Palaniswami Tuesday defended the one-time Rs 2000 dole to BPL families in the Tamil Nadu assembly and turned the tables on the DMK, which said it was for the scheme, though it did not agree to the way it was rolled out. A day after announcing the payout, the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister denied having unveiled it with an eye on the upcoming Lok Sabha election and pointedly asked a DMK member if he was for or against the initiative.
Responding to DMK legislator K Ponmudi in the house on the issue, Palaniswami said in addition to the drought which prevailed in many parts of the state, people faced hardship due to Cyclone Gaja.
Farm labourers, one of the beneficiaries of the scheme announced on Monday, did not get adequate remuneration due to such factors, he said. “We have announced the scheme only after factoring in these matters and not with an eye on polls. This (assistance) is being given to all BPL families, irrespective of party affiliation. It is meant for the working classes of Tamil Nadu,” he added.
Palaniswami asked Ponmudi whether it was ‘right or wrong’ for the government to provide such an assistance. To this, the DMK leader said he was okay with the scheme “but not with the way” it was being rolled out. Ponmudi, a former Minister, however, did not elaborate.
The DMK during its previous regimes had backed doles to the poor. Palaniswami had Monday announced a special assistance of Rs 2000 each to about 60 lakh BPL families in the state, covering both urban and rural poor.
The government would allocate Rs 1,200 crore for this purpose, he had said yesterday.