Amma's manifesto

Eyeing a larger role at the national level, chief minister J Jayalalithaa released her party’s manifesto for the Lok Sabha polls, promising to distribute freebies, hitherto enjoyed by people in Tamil Nadu, to citizens across the country. Under the Jayalalithaa regime, ration card holders in the state have received mixies, grinders, fans, milch cows, goats and marriage assistance.
“AIADMK will ensure the implementation of these schemes at the all-India level,” the manifesto said. However, there was no mention of how the party intended to fund the largesse. The recent draft guidelines issued by the Election Commission mandate that parties when making promises of freebies in manifestos should also spell out the ways and means of funding them.
The marriage assistance scheme for poor women guarantees them 25,000 each along with a four-gram gold coin, and household items are given away to all eligible ration card holders.
A good portion of the 45-page manifesto listed out key national issues and how the party intends to handle them. “In the election manifesto, we have spelt out many policies and promise to implement many schemes, which are aimed not only at the development of Tamil Nadu, but also the entire nation,” Jayalalithaa told reporters at the AIADMK headquarters. Not shying away from showcasing her national ambitions, the manifesto details what AIADMK could do on issues such as foreign policy, Sri Lanka, economy, power, fuel pricing and the women’s reservation bill. It vowed to get a permanent seat for India in the UN Security Council.
It promised to replace the UPA’s ‘half-baked’ national food security scheme with the universal public distribution system being implemented in the state. It set an agenda to create ten crore jobs and promised to raise the Income Tax exemption limit to Rs 5 lakh. It also pledged to rescind FDI in retail trade.

In what could set off celebrations among pro-Tamil groups in the state, AIADMK on Tuesday announced that it will move the United Nations to render justice to Sri Lankan Tamils by holding a referendum among Lankan Tamils and diaspora for the formation of a separate Eelam. When AIADMK becomes a constituent of the new Union government at the Centre after the Lok Sabha elections, the party would draw the attention of the international agency to the plight of Tamils in Sri Lanka, the party’s manifesto said. “The party is determined to ensure that punishment is given through the International Court of Justice to all those who committed war crimes and genocide against the Tamil minorities during the internal strife in Sri Lanka,” it said. The party vowed to take all necessary steps to retrieve Katchatheevu island from Sri Lanka.

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