Jayalalithaa differs with SC ruling that freebies influenced people
Arguing that “freebies” is not an apt term to be used for welfare measures announced by political parties for the social uplift of weaker sections, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa said the monetary and material assistance a government gave through such schemes are necessary and inevitable in an unequal society like India.
In her suggestions to the Election Commission on framing of guidelines for election manifesto, she described as “not appropriate” the ruling of the Supreme Court that freebies of any kind undoubtedly influenced people and it shook the root of free and fair elections to a large degree.
“The prospective legislators put forth their vision through the election manifesto to the electorate. Assistance given to the weaker sections should not be looked at as freebies myopically, she said in her letter to K. Ajaya Kumar, Principal Secretary, Election Commission of India.
Ms. Jayalalithaa said that political parties should be given the liberty to release their manifesto according to their convenience.
“Restricting the election manifesto by timing or guidelines will only restrict the progressive and innovative schemes meant for uplift of socially weaker sections,” she said.
The Chief Minister also argued that any guideline which is restrictive by way of a code of conduct imposed on political parties regarding their election manifesto would only amount to interfering in the free and fair election process and imposing restrictions on political parties from propagating their ideology.
“It will undermine the spirit of democracy and also fetter liberal thought,” she added.