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On releasing convicts in Rajiv Gandhi case, AIADMK, rival DMK on same page

The ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) and the opposition Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) in Tamil Nadu on Tuesday released their manifestos for the Lok Sabha elections in April-May. Both the parties promised to release all the seven convicts in former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.

The former prime minister was assassinated by a suicide bomber belonging to the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam) in May 1991. This was a reaction by the militant outfit to the Rajiv Gandhi government’s decision to send peace keeping force to Sri Lanka to fight the LTTE fighters.

A total of 26 accused were initially found guilty in the assassination case, 19 of them were later acquitted. The seven convicts V Sriharan alias Murugan, T Suthenthirarajan alias Santhan, A G Perarivalan, S Jayakumar, B Robert Payas, P Ravichandran and S Nalini have been in jail since 1991.

In 2014, the AIADMK government of Tamil Nadu led by late J Jayalalithaa decided to release the convicts. The Centre moved the Supreme Court and secured a stay on the order.

In August 2018, the Centre told the Supreme Court that the release of the convicts, four of whom are foreigners, would “set a very dangerous precedent and lead to international ramifications”. Now the two principal parties of Tamil Nadu have promised the same in their manifestos for the elections.

Tamil Nadu will vote for all 39 Lok Sabha seats on April 18, second of the seven phases of the parliamentary polls. Eighteen assembly constituencies of Tamil Nadu will also go the polls on the same day.

The two parties have come out with almost same promises in their election manifestos. Exemption for National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET), Education Loan waiver assurance, bringing back education under state subject, reservation in private sector are among the major poll promises made by the AIADMK and the DMK.

DMK manfesto: Key promises

* Tamil Language will be recognized as the co-official language in the central government officers in Tamil Nadu.

* A separate budget will be tabled for the agriculture department.

* 60 per cent of the Centre’s tax revenue will be given to the state.

* Inter-state council will decide about the formation and functioning of Finance Commission.

* New Pension Scheme will be abolished and Old one will be implemented.

* Employees’ pension will be set as Rs 8000.

* An Administered Pricing Mechanism will be followed to calculate and set the fuel prices.

* The amount deducted from Customers’ bank accounts for not maintaining sufficient balance will be credited back with the interest.

* The Sethu Canal Project will be revamped again.

* The income tax slab will be modified to make income upto Rs 8 lakh a year non-taxable.

* Initiatives will be taken to inter-link south Indian rivers.

* Sri Lankan refugees will be given Indian citizenship.

* Toll tax will not be collected after the license ends.

* Railway pass will be given to school and college students.

* A special fund for disaster management will be allocated to the tune of 0.5 per cent in the budget.

* Private companies will be encouraged to create jobs under Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives.

* Inappropriate, violent, sexually abusive social website posts will be dealt with a special law.

* Separate ministry will be formed for the fisheries department.

AIADMK manifesto: Key promises

The government will credit Rs 1,500 every month into the bank accounts of the poor and working class under ‘Amma National Poverty Eradication Scheme.’

The AIADMK will fight to avert the Common Civil Code in the nation.

* MGR national skill development scheme will be rolled out for making the youths as skilled workers.

* A special water management project will be formulated to overcome the water insufficiency.

* Reducing interest rates on loans given for primary, secondary and service sectors

* Probe by international community into the Sri Lankan war crimes committed against the Tamils in 2009 final war.

* The AIADMK will fight for recovering Katchatheevu, an island located between India and Sri Lanka.

BJP calls poll promises ‘impossible’

The DMK and AIADMK have also promised to make Puducherry Union Territory as a separate state. Reacting to DMK’s manifesto, the BJP state chief Tamilisai said impossible promises have been made in order to seek votes.

“The DMK has been telling lies in the name of poll promises. All the promises made by the DMK are just fake assurances,” she claimed.

First Published:
Mar 19, 2019 16:50 IST

Source: HindustanTimes