Chennai, Mar 16 (UNI) Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi today said rolling out freebies to the poor did not amount to ''pursuing cheap politics.'' Replying to a set of questions, Mr Karunanidhi, in an apparent reference to PMK's remarks, said giving freebies to those people, who did not have the purchasing power, could not be construed as cheap politics.
''Though it is imperative that the standard of living of such people should be improved to enable them to get the purchasing power, it requires a lot of time''.
''Till then, giving freebies to them is not a major mistake'', the DMK patriarch said, and added that if jobs were given to the unemployed, they could buy TVs on their own.
However, it was difficult for the Government to give jobs to all unemployed youth in one day.
''The state Government is taking steps to provide employment to the unemployed and at the same time has also been rolling out various free schemes''.
''If one says that giving freebies is cheap politics, then providing free power scheme to the farmers will also be called as cheap politics'', he added.
It may be recalled that the various populist schemes, including provision of free colour TV to every poor family, free gas stoves, Rs two a kg rice scheme, announced by the DMK had catapulted the party to power in the 2006 May Assembly polls.
But some political parties, including DMK's key all Pattali Makkal Katchi, were having a dig at the Government for announcing freebies to the poor.
Mr Karunanidhi's statement today comes in the backdrop of PMK founder S Ramdoss's remarks that the DMK Government was focusing only on giving away freebies to the people instead of focussing on creating employment opportunities.
Dr Ramdoss, who had openly criticised various welfare schemes of the DMK regime, said the Government instead of giving away free colour television sets, could have created employment for poor families in the State.
UNI GV GKT SY HT1351