What Does The Tamil Nadu Elections Hold For Common Man?

By: Chandrasekaran, 2016-05-15 14:45:00.0Category:  Issues & Concerns
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With the Polling for the 15th Legislative Assembly  of Tamil Nadu to take place on Monday. The campaigning for the multi-cornered contest came to an end on Saturday at 6p.m. A whopping total of 3,776 candidates, which includes 3,454 male, 320 female and two third gender are contesting for 234 legislative assembly seats (189 general and 45 reserved constituencies). Surprisingly, Dr Radhakrishnan Nagar Constituency , where current Chief Minister J Jayalalitha is contesting , has the highest number of candidates – 45 , while three constituencies Arcot , Mayiladuthurai , Gudalur has the lowest – 8.

AIADMK leader and incumbent CM Jayalalitha  , DMK Leader and former CM M Karunanidhi, his son and former Deputy CM MK Stalin ,  DMDK CM Candidate Vijaykant ,PMK CM Candidate A Ramadoss are the major candidates contesting election this time. AIADMK along with their allies has fielded 234 candidates , while DMK has fielded 180 , DMDK 104 , BJP 188, Congress 41 , BSP 158 , Communist parties 25 each and NCP 20. The campaign gained momentum along with the summer heat scorching the state and the Election Commission had to interfere with advice on conducting campaign during the day time, as there were reports of at least three to four people dying due to exposure to heat for a long time, during public meetings.

Of the 997 major party Candidates , 553 are crorepatis. 32 from INC, 64 from BJP, 156 from AIADMK, 133 fielded by DMK, 72 from PMK and 57 DMDK candidates have declared assets worth Rs 1 crore and above in their affidavits , whereas the average of assets of the 997 major party candidates analysed is Rs 4.35 crore

Out of the 997 candidates Analysed, 283 have declared criminal cases against themselves , 10 candidates from INC, 26 from BJP, 47 from AIADMK, 68 candidates fielded by DMK, 66 from PMK, 41 from DMDK and 8 CPI(M) candidates have declared criminal cases against themselves in their affidavits

The Election Commission, led by Chief Electoral Officer Rajesh Lakhoni in the state, has taken several measures to stop the cash distribution among voters seeking votes. The cash seized by the commission crossed Rs 100 crore, which is an unprecedented amount ever in the history of the election in the state, according to officials. Out of this, around Rs 37 crore was returned upon submitting proper documents. Apart from this , an Election Commission surveillance team in Tirupur chased down and seized three container lorries transporting Rs. 570 crore in cash from the State Bank of India, Coimbatore, on Saturday , which is still under investigation.

Promises that make a common man say "wow!", mind boggling numbers, ambitious plans for all round growth, freebies and concessions, ideological assurances, visionary schemes for growth of the State and the like fill the pages of manifestos of various political parties in Tamil Nadu.While PMK called its manifesto as Citizen’s Charter for Change, the BJP described its manifesto as Vision Document for Development of Tamil Nadu.  “It is not a mere statement; it is a document," said Congress. DMK has hailed its manifesto as the ‘super hero’. Among the manifestos of all parties, DMDK and Naam Tamizhar Katchi proposes many ‘distinctive’ promises which remain as ‘odd man out’. The one point where every other party concur is enforcement of prohibition of liquor in Tamil Nadu.  While all other parties stand for enforcing it in one go, the ruling AIADMK promises to enforce prohibition in a phased manner , Here is an account of what these parties promise on 10 important aspects.

1.Liquor

All parties concur on this issue. But AIADMK and TMC for enforcing it in a phased manner. Almost all parties promise alternative jobs to TASMAC employees. 

2. Agriculture

All parties agree on waiving crop loans of small and marginal farmers. DMK, PMK, PWA, BJP and Congress stand for separate budget for Agriculture, other parties silent on this issue.

3. Employment generation for youth

While DMK promises to engage two lakh youth in sale of granite, rare earth minerals, sand, blue metals, and gravel etc., AIADMK promises to take over sale of beach minerals and evolve a new granite policy. PWA promises to generate one crore job opportunities. On the other hand, Naam Tamizhar Katchi (NTK)said agriculture, cattle breeding, fisheries, honey bee breeding, silk worm breeding, mat weaving, pottery, weaving, etc., will be brought under organised sector and will be made as government jobs.

4. Fishermen welfare

DMK, AIADMK, PWA and (NTK) promise special housing scheme for fishermen. Significantly, NTK promises exclusive six Assembly constituencies for fishermen in coastal areas. PWA and NTK promise to strive for lifting the ban on fishing around 21 islands around Ramanathapuram.

5. Women Development

AIADMK and DMDK promise women will be given training in driving autorickshaws and grant will be given for buying autorickshaws. While DMK promises increasing financial assistance under various marriage assistance schemes, the AIADMK promises to increase the gold given for making *thaali* from four grams to one sovereign.  

6. Education

AIADMK and DMK promises to provide internet connection to the laptops given to the students. DMK says milk will be given to students along with nutritious meal and medical colleges in all districts.  AIADMK says universities would be connected through cloud computing.  Congress promises a new educational policy proposing free education from pre KG to PG courses. It also promised to open Navodaya schools in Tamil Nadu. The PMK promises similar syllabus for government and private schools and the burden of carrying too many books would be reduced.  Introduction of e-bag software and students only buses are other promises made by the PMK.

7. Electricity

AIADMK promises to generate 13,000 mw of additional power new thermal plants, 2,500 mw of power through hydel power projects and 3,000 mw of power through solar power projects. 100 units of power will be given free of cost to all domestic consumers. 78 lakh consumers who use only upto 100 mw need not pay anything for power supply. DMK says

DMK promises monthly billing system for EB tariff to benefit the consumer, steps to execute Udankudi power project and encourage Co-generation of power in sugar mills, extending loan with subsidy for solar power systems set up in houses.  BJP promises to make Tamil Nadu a power surplus State within two years and reducing power consumption by 2,000 mw by using LED bulbs and a big push for solar power generation. PWA promises to reduce transmission loss and generate bio-gas from the solid wastes from municipalities and corporations, wind mills and solar power projects will be encouraged and monthly billing for EB tariff will be introduced.

8. Environment

 PWA promises a mass tree planting movement. A permanent Green Plan Authority will be set up. DMK promises to set up Ornithology centre.Action will be taken for preventing sewers mixing with waterways in cities. Tamil Nadu River Conservation Project will be enacted to protect the rivers from effluents

BJP promises to bring effluents from all factories in Erode, Karur, Tirupur and Vellore, to a treatment plants through pipes. PMK says along with Seemai Karuvel, Eucalyptus trees will also be rooted out. Palm trees will be protected and growing them in large numbers will be encouraged. 

9. Industrial growth

AIADMK : Steps to establish integrated textile park in Ramanathapuram district, renewable energy centre in Tirunelveli district, conducting Global Investors Meet once in two years, speeding up  Chennai- Bangalore industrial corridor project, establishment of industrial production zones in Tuticorin, Vellore, Krishnagiri districts.

DMK promises to set right problems faced by small and micro industries within 100 days. Dedicated power lines will be set up to provide uninterrupted power supply to the industries. Mining of platinum in Namakkal, Erode, Coimbatore districts will be started after feasibility studies.  Ethanol production will be encouraged in sugar mills. Indian Institute of Foundries will be  set up in Coimbatore and aircraft spare parts manufacturing industry  will be established in the State. 

PMK promises to implement a special scheme for enabling NRI Indians to start their industries in Tamil Nadu. Free power supply to small and marginal weavers will be increased from 500 units to 1,000 units, All districts will have special Agri Economic Zones. Tamil Nadu will be divided into five industrial zones for speedy industrial growth.

10. Good Governance

All parties ensure setting up of Lok Ayuktha in Tamil Nadu including the ruling AIADMK. While PMK promises massive administrative reforms to expedite the functioning of the government. DMK promises to set up district level committees comprising NGOs to oversee implementation of schemes. 

In 2011, when the AIADMK came to power, Tamil Nadu had a direct debt of Rs 100,000 crore. Today, we have Rs 200,000 crore debt. The TNEB accumulated losses and debts in 2011 stood at Rs 100,000 crore and now it is Rs 210,000 crore. If you keep taking loans and giving freebies, it is a reckless and irresponsible economic activity. This is not acceptable. This is why there’s no employment in the state. If you walk into hotels, it’s people from the North-East who are working. If you look at labourers in civil work, it is people from Andhra and Bihar. Where are all the Tamilians? They are drinking at Tasmacs and lying drunk on the roads. Do we need leaders who have brought the state to such a level? Freebies are just to fool the public and pickpocket the votes. These freebies will not do any good for our society.

It’s definitely going to be a tough battle between the AIADMK and DMK this time round. With the Election Commission cracking down on ‘votes for notes’, the battle is perceived to be even tougher and, perhaps, a close one.

Chandrasekaran is an Electrical Engineering Graduate from National Institute of Technology Kurukshetra

 

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