In their manifestos for the Lok Sabha elections, the AIADMK and DMK have made identical and tall promises, including release of Rajiv Gandhi assassination convicts, scrapping of NEET, steps to increase employment and to eliminate poverty. While AIADMK coordinator and Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam said the party would ‘vigorously pursue’ the Amma National Poverty Eradication Initiative (ANPEI), which would ensure a direct transfer of Rs 1,500 per month to the targeted population of the poor and the deprived (people below poverty line, destitute women, widows without income, differently-abled, landless agricultural labourers, rural and urban manual labourers, destitute senior citizens, etc.), DMK president M K Stalin said steps would be taken to implement reservation in the private sector.
Releasing the DMK’s manifesto, he promised to do away with the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) for medical admissions and ushering in quota in the private sector. He also assured steps for waiver of all educational loans taken by students. Against the background of agitations by State government employees seeking reversion to the old pension scheme in place of the newly-introduced contributory scheme, the DMK chief said: ‘We will bring back the old pension scheme for both the Central and State government employees.’ He also said the party would revert to the administered-price mechanism to regulate the prices of petrol, diesel and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).
For its part, the AIADMK vowed to bring back Education in the State list. Statehood for Puducherry, implementation of uniform civil code and an international probe into the alleged genocide and war crimes committed by Sri Lanka on Tamils during the Eelam War IV were the other promises. Though the manifestos appear attractive, it seems both the AIADMK and DMK have missed to realise that they are regional parties and many of their promises can only be implemented by a national party which comes to power. These parties may be part of the Central government that is to be formed after the polls. But, still, one has to wait and watch to know how they are going to implement these promises.