What started as a debate on White Paper and the state Budget turned out into an exchange on election manifestos as both the DMK and AIADMK traded charges in the Assembly on Monday.
Former revenue minister RB Udhayakumar commenced the Budget debate saying that in the name of White Paper the DMK government was shying away from its electoral promises and there was a doubt that by citing the financial crisis it might not implement social welfare schemes.
He claimed that when the AIADMK came to power though there was a debt of more than Rs 1 lakh crore the government fulfilled various electoral promises, including distribution of free rice to 1.83 crore cardholders and free laptops to students. Even during the financial crisis, former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa was firm in implementing the free laptop scheme due to which more than 52 lakh laptops were given to students, he added.
Replying to him, Chief Minister MK Stalin said that in the past the AIADMK did not fulfil a majority of electoral promises and listed out a few such as distribution of free mobile phones to public, reduction of Aavin price to Rs 25 per packet, distribution of free Amma mineral water to people below poverty line, groceries at low price to the public, distribution of Amma bank card, distribution of Rs 500 coupon in Cooptex shops, formation of women farm groups, to setup Wi-Fi in public places, establishment of Ambedkar foundation, mono rail in Chennai and so on.
Stalin also said that the electoral promises of farm loan and jewel loan waiver would be implemented soon after scrutinising the irregularities and identifying ineligible candidates to whom benefits were extended.
Former Chief Minister and Leader of Opposition Edappadi K Palaniswami joining the debate said that the DMK too did not implement various electoral promises properly such as distribution of 2 acre land to farmers.
Minister for Cooperation I Periyasamy, in his reply, quoted the words of former CM M Karunanidhi that even a cent of government land lying free will be distributed to farmers and said that during the previous DMK rule, from 2006 to 2011, 2.5 acres were distributed.