TN's key oppn party DMK eyes comeback, showers doles in poll manifesto

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(Eds: Recasts, adds details) Chennai, Mar 13 (PTI) The main opposition DMK in Tamil Nadu on Saturday made a whopping 500 plus promises in its manifesto for the April 6 Assembly elections which includes a shower of doles like Rs 4,000 relief to COVID-19 hit rice ration card holders.

On the lines of Andhra Pradesh and Haryana, which passed laws to reserve 75 per cent jobs for locals, DMK president M K Stalin assured legislation to earmark 75 per cent of jobs in industrial houses for locals and promised to press for quota in private sector.

Crop and jewel loans (upto 5 sovereigns) of small and marginal farmers in cooperative banks, pending loans of Women Self Help Groups in co-op institutions and educational loans of college students below the age of 30 would all be waived, he said, releasing his party's manifesto at the party headquarters.

In government town buses, women shall be allowed to travel free of cost and quota for women in government jobs shall be increased from 30 to 40 per cent, he announced.

Free computer tablets with data card for students, milk to school students in the mornings to provide nutritional support and distribution of napkins free of cost to girl pupils of schools and colleges were some of the other promises.

The rural employment guarantee programme would see an increase from 100 to 150 days and poor farmers and auto drivers would get Rs 10,000 subsidy to buy farm pumpset and autos respectively, he said.

Special courts would be set up to try cases (indicating that cases would be filed) of 'corruption against AIADMK ministers,' Stalin said underlining the salient features of his party's manifesto.

While the AIADMK government runs 'Amma Unavagam,' he said 500 'Kalaignar Unavagam' (eateries) would be set up.

After the 'first hero' the candidates list, the manifesto is the 'second hero,' he said and promised elevated roads, desalination projects and 5-lakh plus fresh jobs in government sector.

Aiming at a comeback to the corridors of power after a hiatus of 10 years, the party made 505 assurances, which includes measures towards economic revival, protecting farm lands, free three phase electricity for farmers and a separate budget for agriculture and weekly off for police personnel.

If voted to power, petrol and diesel prices would be slashed by Rs 5 and Rs 4 per litre, he said.

A monthly subsidy of Rs 100 will be provided to buy one LPG cylinder for every ration card holder and the cost of state-run 'Aavin' milk shall be slashed by Rs three a litre. Also, an additional one kg sugar would be distributed in public distribution outlets.

Implementing all promises was possible by eradicating corruption, pursuing measures including austerity and increasing tax revenue, the manifesto released by him asserted.

A separate department will be set up for implementation of poll promises (and to ensure action on petitions received by Stalin from public during his campaign) within 100 days of assuming office and a report card shall be be out on the 100th day.

Stalin promised a proper inquiry into the circumstances leading to the death of late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa and initiation of legal action again 'anyone,' found guilty.

The Centre would be requested to include Sri Lanka in its Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 and give citizenship to Lankan Tamil refugees living in camps in India and work for release of seven Rajiv Gandhi assasination case convicts.

Input subsidy for organic farmers, an increased Minimum Support Price of Rs 2,500 and Rs 4,000 respectively for paddy and cane per quintal and expeditious implementation of intra-state river linking plans were among the promises.

Financial assistance upto a maximum of Rs 25,000 to one lakh persons in a year going on pilgrimage to major Hindu temples, increase in maternity leave period and assistance, cut in fuel prices and steps to ban NEET in Tamil Nadu were promised.

At the same time, the party also assured 2.5 per cent reservation to students of state-aided schools who clear NEET in medical admissions. Tamil Nadu provides 7.5 per cent quota to government school students (who get through NEET) in medical courses.

The DMK also promised to implement its pet initiatives the 'Sethu Samudram project,' and revival of Legislative Council. The manifesto also assured steps to retrieve Katchatheevu islet from Sri Lanka to protect fishermen and bring them under 'Scheduled Tribes' (maritime tribes) category and provide them two lakh new houses.

Till such time the COVID-19 battered economy revived, property tax shall not be increased.

Releasing the manifesto, Stalin said if his party was voted to power, first generation graduates will be given preference in government jobs, reservation in private sector will also be insisted and promised subsidies for small farmers.

Promising an allocation of Rs 1,000 crore towards renovation and consecration of Hindu temples, Stalin assured to provide Rs 200 crore for churches and mosques.

'The government will enact a law making learning of Tamil compulsory till eighth standard in all schools including those under the Central Board of Secondary Education.' Right to Services Act, a resolution against Centre's farm laws in Assembly and rescinding laws with similar provisions in Tamil Nadu were promised. PTI VGN SA BN BN