Friday, March 25, 2011

Distribution of freebies in TN a worrying trend, says CEC

New Delhi: Promise of providing freebies like mixies and laptops to the people by political parties in Tamil Nadu is a "disturbing" trend, Chief Election Commissioner S Y Quraishi said here today.

"We have been hearing news of parties in Tamil Nadu promising mixies and laptops to people in an attempt to impress them...this is a worrying trend and the public has been taking notice of it," he said addressing a lecture on 'Sustaining Electoral Process- India's initiatives'. 

On March 19, the ruling DMK in the state said it would distribute free mixies or grinders to women, free laptops to SC/ST students and free rice of 35 kg to BPL families if voted back to power.

The main Opposition party AIADMK, on the other hand, promised 20 kg of free rice for ration-card holders, laptops for students from classes XI, free fans,mixers and grinders to all and mineral water to BPL families, besides four gms of gold for 'Thali' (mangalsutra) free of cost to poor women and cable TV connections at subsidised rates.

Quraishi said that his office could do little to curb this trend as the parties had chosen the distribution of freebies as their election manifesto but the Election Commission would act if "there was any distortion in the list of expenditure of candidates" at the end of the campaigning process. 

He also said that those indulging in "unnecessary extravagances" in an attempt to "seduce the voters" would be reprimanded.

"Recently an observer caught a truck carrying chicken for a briyani party by one of the candidates in Tamil Nadu. Such ways to seduce the voters will not be encouraged," he said.

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