By Neha Arha
With assembly elections in India’s southern state of Tamil Nadu approaching, the trend of expecting something free in return for casting your vote is catching up fast. It is raining freebies in the state and this time it is not just colour television sets or liquor but also laptops for college students.
Beating incumbent chief minister M. Karunanidhi, her arch rival in the state, AIADMK chief J. Jayalalithaa has promised four grams of gold to poor voters, in addition to cable TV connections at subsidised rates.
Not lagging behind in the race, national parties like the right-wing Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, while condemning state parties for what they term “bribing voters”, have offered stationery to students, sanitary napkins to women and 100,000 rupees ($2,260) deposit for female children born in a below-poverty-line family as poll promises in a bid to mark its presence in the state.
Such promises appear to contravene the Indian Election Commission’s Model Code of Conduct of bribing voters.
The DMK’s poll promise of providing a laptop to the state’s college students may cost over 10 billion rupees ($226 million), the Hindu reported on Thursday.