Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram urged voters in Thondamuthur Assembly constituency here on Friday to repose faith in the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam government and judge its performance on the basis of the welfare schemes implemented so far.

Campaigning for Congress candidate M.N. Kandaswamy, Mr. Chidambaram said the Rs.65,000-crore loan waiver he had announced for farmers when he was Finance Minister was inspired by the Rs.7,000-crore waiver announced by Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi.

“In the 2004 Lok Sabha elections, the Congress won only 145 seats. But, the people gave us 206 seats in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections because of the welfare schemes we have introduced for various sections, including the farm loan waiver,” he said.

“The rise in the number of seats should also be attributed to the faith people had in the Congress’ ability to provide more welfare. They did not vote thoughtlessly. So have faith in the DMK government also?,” Mr. Chidambaram said, urging the people of Thondamuthur to ensure the victory of the DMK-Congress combine in the by-election.

The DMK government had done a lot for the uplift of the poor during the last three years and one could be confident that it would continue to do so in the remaining two years of its term. “I had said during the Assembly elections in 2006 that the hero of the polls was the DMK manifesto. And it has been proved true by the schemes the government has been implementing,” he said.

Alluding to the decision of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagm and its allies to boycott the by-elections to five Assembly constituencies, Mr. Chidambaram said people should not shirk from their democratic responsibility to vote. It was not wise to consider a by-election as insignificant.

The issues in a general election and a by-election could be different, but both were equally important for voters.