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DMK moves HC for distribution of Pongal cash gift without issuing tokens by ruling party men

The DMK said the ruling party leaders could not be allowed to gain political mileage, by misleading the people, in the ensuing elections at the cost of public exchequer.

Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) has filed a writ petition in the Madras High Court seeking a direction to the State government to distribute Pongal cash gift of ₹ 2,500 to ration cardholders without issuing tokens containing AIADMK party flag colours, photographs of Chief Minister, Deputy Chief Minister, other Ministers and party office-bearers.

The DMK said the ruling party leaders could not be allowed to gain political mileage, by misleading the people, in the ensuing elections at the cost of public exchequer. Senior counsel P. Wilson on Wednesday requested a vacation Bench of Justices R. Mahadevan and Anita Sumanth to grant permission for lunch motion considering the urgency of the case.

The judges asked him to circulate the papers to them as well as to State Government Pleader V. Jayaprakash Narayanan and said a decision on permitting an early hearing could be taken only after perusing the papers. Filing an affidavit on behalf of the party, its organisation secretary R.S. Bharathi said 2.6 crore rice cardholders would benefit out of the Pongal cash gift this year.

“The petitioner’s party absolutely has no grievance to the said distribution at present and in fact during peak time of pandemic, our party’s president M.K. Stalin demanded the government to pay ₹ 5,000 to each family. Without heeding to this demand and keeping quiet for many months, the Chief Minister has now announced ₹ 2,500 in the midst of election campaign.

“Keeping in mind the general election to Tamil Nadu State Assembly, the incumbent Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami, with hidden agenda, announced the Pongal free gift scheme on December 19 and hurriedly inaugurated it on December 20… I submit that the Pongal gift cash is being distributed from the government fund and not from the ruling party fund,” the affidavit read.

Pointing out that the cash gift along with other groceries given by the State during Pongal must be distributed through ration shops, the petitioner party accused ruling party men of going on a spree distributing tokens containing AIADMK flag and photographs of its leaders to make it appear as if the money was being given away by the ruling party.

After including the Election Commission of India as one of the respondents to the writ petition, DMK said though the model code of conduct was yet to be enforced in the State, it was not proper on the party of the ruling party to indulge in such misleading activities since it would affect the level playing field during the ensuing Assembly elections in the State.

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