Deputy Chief Minister and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam treasurer M.K. Stalin on Thursday accused former Chief Minister and All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam general secretary Jayalalithaa of having withdrawn the marriage assistance scheme whenever she came to power just because it was introduced by the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam Government.

Mr.Stalin was taking part in a function organised by the Coimbatore city unit of the DMK to conduct mass wedding of 99 couples from poor families. Originally, the party planned the wedding for 87 couples to mark the 87th birthday of its president and Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi. But, the number shot up to 100 couples. One couple could not get married owing to health problems.

Materials required to run a family were provided to the newly-wed. Mr. Stalin also handed over welfare assistance such as sewing machines, tri-cycles and mopeds to party functionaries. State Ministers Pongalur N Palanisamy (Rural Industries) and M.P. Saminathan (Highways) and party leaders Subbulakshmi Jagadeesan, M. Ramanathan and M. Kannappan were among those who were present.

The Government announced the marriage assistance and housing schemes for the poor because the expenses involved in these could not be borne by the economically weaker sections. The DMK Government introduced the Moovalur Ramamirtham Ammaiyar Marriage Assistance Scheme with a financial assistance of Rs 5,000 in 1989.

But, after assuming office as Chief Minister in 1991, Ms. Jayalalithaa withdrew the scheme. The DMK brought it back when it returned to power in 1996 and increased the financial assistance to Rs.10,000. The scheme was withdrawn again by the AIADMK Government in 2001.

After the DMK came back to power in 2006, the scheme was revived and the assistance was also increased in phases to 15,000, 20,000 and now 25,000.

Appreciating the party members for organising the mass weddings, Mr. Stalin said this should be conducted in Chennai and various other parts of the State so that lack of resources should not deny the poor to get married and run a family.