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As political leaders relax, it's time for voters to open gift boxes
Chennai, April 9 - As the leaders and cadres in Tamil Nadu are relaxing after the rough and tough days of elections and are waiting for the results on May 2, the voters are happy with the 'gift boxes' given to them by the political parties.
True to the freebie culture prevalent in Tamil Nadu, the voters, whether in the urban or rural areas, have been loaded with gifts which include, among others silver amulets, gold coins, token for gold coins and gold ornaments, television sets and other consumer items.
Senior leader of DMK Duraimurugan told IANS, "Its not a freebie culture, we strongly deny that. We are a political party who is always with the people, and local leaders may provide them a gift or so out of love and not for exchange of anything. This is the reality and all the other terminologies are wrong."
In several parts of Tamil Nadu political parties have provided tokens which could be used at supermarkets and other provisional stores to buy groceries and other necessary items.
Murugan K. , a voter of Velachery, Guindy told IANS," Yes, I have received a packet which contained tokens for buying one month grocery items from the local shops. Other than that there was another token by another political party which is to buy a gold coin from a local jewellery shop."
The freebie culture of Tamil Nadu electoral politics is rampant even in 2021 and voters are happy at the small gifts they receive in exchange for the votes cast. While both the major Dravidian parties and even national parties resort to the culture of freebies, it seems that this would continue well into the next elections also.
Rajalakshmi Selvaraj, a housewife from Trichy told IANS," Mostly the gifts are of use to the family but there are instances wherein the political parties even cheat, our neighbour received a silver amulet as gift but when the packet was opened the product was inferior and it even gives one itching sensation. Now we cannot complain as these are freebies and voting is already over."
Interestingly, in several areas of South Tamil Nadu, the voters were given token's for local meat shops to buy meat and even fish from the vendor.
C. Rajeev, Director of Centre for Policy and Development Studies, a Think Tank based out of Chennai told IANS, "All said and done, the political parties of Tamil Nadu have inculcated the culture of freebies in society and they cannot roll back on it. We are into detailed research on elections of Tamil Nadu and how the freebie culture is affecting the will of the people."
With the culture of freebies deeply rooted in the politics of Tamil Nadu, weeding it out may not be easy even for the national parties and, interestingly the national parties, including the Congress and BJP are following suit with the Dravidian parties in distributing freebies.
There were allegations against the BJP women's wing national president Vanathi Srinivasan of having distributed cash at Coimbatore South where she is in a tough four-cornered fight against Superstar turned politician Kamal Haasan, Mayura Jayakumar and R. Doraiswamy.
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