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Jaya defends shower of freebies, says AIADMK is 'pro-poor'

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Thanjavur (TN), May 9: Defending her promises of freebies like mobile phones, set-top boxes, 50 per cent subsidy for women to buy scooters and mopeds in the AIADMK manifesto, party supremo Jayalalithaa today said such schemes are intended to "uplift" the disadvanted, as her party is "pro-poor".

"I do agree we have announced that we have promised freebie schemes. It is because the AIADMK party led by me is always on the side of the poor," she said at an election rally while referring to Opposition's criticism over it.


"Such schemes are for uplifting the poor people, to help them stand on their own legs and earn," the Tamil Nadu chief minister said, adding, the poll promises were intended to fulfil people's expectations.

Reiterating that she does not have "selfishness" or a family, she lashed out at DMK, without naming it by stating that "I do not have any idea to usurp crores of rupees as cable TV service charges by giving free TV sets."

DMK had given free colour TVs after it assumed power in 2006 and it faced flak from the Opposition that the scheme was for "collecting cable TV fee" by an MSO run by those in the extended family of Karunanidhi.

Citing criticism by Opposition parties like DMK that her poll promises, including freebies, were intended to "hoodwink people" and could not be implemented, the AIADMK chief said that she gave any assurance only after throughly analysing it, "not for 100 times but for 1,000 times."

"I give you my assurance that I will implement all our poll promises. Those who oppose our election manifesto which is aimed at people's welfare are truly against them." She also used the opportunity to answer opposition's criticism over "delayed" release of manifesto on May 5, saying they did not have any achievements to speak of and were so going to the people with their poll promises alone.

However, she had to first tell people of her government's achievements.

"Since we had to speak of our achievements,I did not release the manifesto before my election campaign started."

Jayalalithaa started her campaign on April 9. In her party manifesto, she had promised free mobile phones, set-top boxes to state-run Arasu cable subscribers, free internet along with free laptops for students and wi-fi in public places.

For women, she had announced 50 per cent subsidy on mopeds or scooters and also promised more gold -- eight grams from the present four grams -- under "Thallikku Thangam" (gold for mangalsutra) scheme. For farmers, she had announced loan waiver and assured 100 units of free electricity to households.


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