Ever wondered why political parties dole out so many freebies to voters in Tamil Nadu? During the last Assembly elections in 2011, Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa offered the following to voters: TV, food blenders, fans, laptops and mineral water, along with a connection to cable TV. The Opposition, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, said it would give small plots of land to the poor. Jayalalithaa said she would build houses for them. The list of lures goes on.
In much of North India, it is the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that is seen as a party favouring rapidly urbanising policies because it is seen as having its base in urban areas. Tamil Nadu is an exception. The BJP is outside the political recognition of the average Tamil voter when it comes to Assembly elections. Of course, this is because of history and a variety of other reasons. The coming summer elections are likely to be variations on this theme.