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AIADMK govt rolls out scheme to provide spl assistance to BPL

Press Trust of India  |  Chennai 

: The AIAMDK government in Tamil Nadu Monday rolled out the scheme of providing a special assistance of Rs 2,000 each to about 60 lakh Below Poverty Line families across the state, even as the DMK petitioned the Election Commission and dubbed it as an 'inducement' of voters ahead of the coming Lok Sabha polls.

The DMK, in its petition to the Election Commission of India (EC) Monday, alleged that the ruling AIADMK was "against a level playing field" in the Lok sabha polls and sought action.

Chief Minister K Palaniswami launched the scheme here by giving away the certificates to 32 beneficiaries, in line with an announcement he had made in the state assembly earlier.

Palaniswami had informed the House on February 11 that the proposal was part of the state government's efforts to ensure inclusive growth.

"Considering the impact of Gaja cyclone (in November 2018) in many districts, as well as the drought, the special assistance was being provided," he had said.

The beneficiaries would be the urban and rural poor, including farm labourers, workers in the fireworks industry, powerloom and handloom sector, salt pans and construction workers, among others.

Palaniswami had then said a total of 60 lakh BPL families will benefit from the move, with an allocation of about Rs 1,200 crore.

Gaja cyclone had hit the coast near Vedaranyam in Nagapattinam district in November 2018, leaving a trail of destruction in over 10 southern districts.

Some districts are facing drought due to deficit rainfall.

The DMK, however, alleged that the scheme was being misused for the benefit of AIADMK workers and office bearers.

"Our party is not against financial assistance to below poverty line families, (but) is concerned that the amount is now being misused for the benefit of AIADMK workers and office-bearers," DMK Organising Secretary and party's Rajya Sabha MP R S Bharathi, said in a petition to the EC.

He claimed that an AIADMK spokesperson, also a former Minister, had said the scheme was "being given to nearly three crore voters, of which two crore would definitely cast their votes in favour" of the ruling party and ensure it 'swept' the polls by winning all 40 Lok Sabha seats, 39 in Tamil Nadu and one Puducherry.

Bharathi recalled that some political parties, social activists and people had objected to the scheme soon after it was announced.

"It is clear that the payment of Rs 2,000 is nothing but an inducement to voters to cast votes in favour of the ruling AIADMK, which is against level playing field in the forthcoming General Election to the Parliament."

Therefore the scheme will not benefit BPL families, he said.

Bharathi requested the EC "to check the illegalities and take immediate action."

"The Chief Secretary is called upon to follow the existing guidelines framed by the state government and Central government and to identify the families of Below Poverty line by adopting transparent process, including publication of names of BPL families in the government website and then distribute the financial assistance," he said.

Any distribution of forms for this scheme through AIADMK office-bearers should also be not done, he added.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, March 04 2019. 19:15 IST