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CM makes tall promises, says Karunanidhi

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CAMPAIGNING: DMK president M. Karunanidhi addressing an election meeting in Tuticorin on Thursday. Photo: N. Rajesh
CAMPAIGNING: DMK president M. Karunanidhi addressing an election meeting in Tuticorin on Thursday. Photo: N. Rajesh

Tamil Nadu Bureau

"AIADMK Government has failed to keep promises made in the 2001 election manifesto"

Tuticorin: The president of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, M. Karunanidhi, said that Chief Minister Jayalalithaa had started making tall promises, which would remain only on paper, out of fear of defeat in the May 8 Assembly elections.

Addressing a huge gathering here as part of his one-day whirlwind campaign in Tuticorin district on Thursday, he said that the AIADMK Government had failed to keep promises made in the 2001 election manifesto. The party assured to post a teacher for each class in schools and dispose of official files within a week. "Unfortunately, all these promises are yet to be fulfilled,'' he said.

Similarly, the promise to distribute gas stoves to the people Below Poverty Line (BPL) too was put on the backburner, he observed.

Sops for traders

Mr. Karunanidhi said that re-sale tax of one per cent levied on traders by the AIADMK regime would be removed, if the DMK was voted to power. Besides, steps would be taken to increase the sales tax ceiling/slab for owners of shops and establishments, who are now paying sales tax for annual turnovers of more than Rs. three lakhs.

K. Kanagaraj, district secretary of the CPM, N. Periyasamy, district secretary of the DMK, S Rajendran, Kovilpatti MLA, and Radhika Selvi, Tiruchendur MP, were present.

Earlier in the morning, Mr. Karunanidhi was given a warm reception by the cadres of constituents of Democratic Progressive Alliance at the Tuticorin railway station.

Promise on infrastructure

Speaking to reporters here, the DMK president said that steps would be taken to tap the industrial potential in all districts by toning up infrastructure, if the party was voted to power. The party planned to establish either Special Economic Zones or a cluster of industrial units in each of the districts, depending on the raw material availability in the region, which would catapult the industrial status of districts multi-fold.

Nanguneri SEZ to be revived

Mr. Karunanidhi assured that the Special Economic Zone project, mooted by the DMK regime for Naguneri in Tirunelveli district in 2001, which was subsequently dropped by the AIADMK on the ground that it was unfeasible, would be revived to give an impetus to the growth of the region.

On the DMK's stance on the Sethusamudram Ship Channel Project, he said "the party had always supported the project. But the AIADMK supported it in the 2001 poll manifesto, and then started opposing it when it realised that the credit was going to T R Baalu''.

Terming Ms. Jayalalithaa's poll promises to give 10 kg of rice free of cost through the public distribution system as `bogus', he said that she made the announcement only to counter the DMK's promise of rice at the rate of Rs.2 per kg.

The DMK president said that it was the sheer fear of losing the electoral battle prompted her to make such promises and now her party was trying to add `colour' to the otherwise dull election campaigns by roping in stars from the tinsel world.

Salt industry

On the proposed ban on use of non-iodised salt for edible purposes from May 17, he said that the party would continue to hold talks with the Centre to look into the impact of such a ban on small-scale salt manufacturers and thereby evolve an amicable solution to the issue.

"Industrial growth stalled"

Addressing an election meeting at Tirunelveli later in the day, Mr. Karunanidhi alleged that Ms. Jayalalithaa, who claimed to make the State number one in the country, had triggered its collapse on all fronts.

Ms. Jayalalithaa, "who gave advertisements on Tamil Nadu in Wall Street Journal to woo investors of the United States and thereby make the State numero uno in the country," was preventing industrial investments in the State during the past five years and the investors were forced to look for neighbouring Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, he said.

After supporting the implementation of Sethusamudhram Ship Channel project in the AIADMK manifesto for 2001 Assembly elections, the Chief Minister later opposed it, he said.

Quoting `Statistics Handbook of Tamil Nadu 2004,' Mr. Karunanidhi also pointed out that production in agriculture sector had also gone down during the AIADMK regime.

"Paddy production, which stood at 79.66 lakh tonnes during the DMK rule, has gone down to 35.77 lakh tonnes while the groundnut production has diminished from 13.55 lakh tonnes in 2000-2001 to 7.17 lakh tonnes in 2002-2003.

He said all poll promises made in the party's manifesto would be implemented in the very first budget of the DMK.

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