True to the freebie culture prevalent in Tamil Nadu, the voters are a happy lot with several finding time to open the gift boxes provided by the political parties. While most of the leaders and cadres of political parties are in a relaxed mood as the rough and tough days of elections are over and the results are out only on May 2.
The voters, without difference between urban and rural centres are opening their gift packets provided by the political parties 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 while speaking to BPNS said, “Its not 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 super markets and other provisional stores to buy groceries and other necessary items.
Murugan K , a voter of Velachery ,Guindy while speaking to BPNS said,” 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 jewelry 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 resorting to the culture of freebies, it seems that this would continue well into the next elections also.
Rajalakshmi Selvaraj, a housewife from Trichy while speaking to BPNS said,” 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 the local meat shops to buy meat and even fish from the local vendor.
C Rajeev , Director of Centre for Policy and Development Studies, a Think Tank based out of Chennai while speaking to BPNS said, “All said and done ,the political parties of Tamil Nadu has inculcated the culture of freebies in society and they cannot roll back on it. We are into a detailed research on elections of Tamil Nadu and how the freebie culture is effecting the will of the people.”
With the culture of freebies deeply rooted in the politics of Tamil Nadu ,rooting it out may not be easy even for national parties and interestingly the national parties including 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 Super star turned politician Kamal Haasan ,Mayura Jayakumar and R Doraiswamy.