Political parties in Tamil Nadu often tend to promise a host of freebies in their election manifestos. From washing machines to television, the Dravidian parties – AIADMK and DMK for decades now, have indulged in extreme populist measures to woo voters in the state.
However, one man surprised them all last week by making bizarre and next to impossible promises. Ahead of the Tamil Nadu assembly elections, Thulam Saravanan, an independent candidate from the Madurai South constituency, had taken the promises to another level by promising mini-helicopters, trip to the moon and robots if voted to victory.
Thulam Saravanan had also promised an annual deposit of Rs.1 crore for every home, gold jewellery for weddings, a 3-storey house, a boat for every family, a 300-foot high artificial snow mountain to keep the constituency cool, a space research centre and a rocket launch pad, should he be elected.
The poll promises made by Saravanan became a hot topic in the country as people debated over the logic of making such populist claims.
However, a day after becoming an internet sensation, Thulam Saravanan has himself clarified the rationale behind making such bizarre premises.
Speaking to the media, the 33-year-old Thulam Saravanan said that his aim was to spread awareness and caution voters against voting for political parties that lure people by offering vague freebies. “I want them to choose good candidates who are ordinary humble people,” he said in a TV interview.
What led him to promise helicopter, trip to moon, Rs 1 crore in his #TamilNaduAssemblyElections #manifesto? Independent candidate Thulam Saravanan says he wants to spread awareness about freebies being offered by politicians in polls@kitaab31 pic.twitter.com/rovy3KFRKI— India Ahead News (@IndiaAheadNews) March 26, 2021
“It’s not that it is impossible to fulfil these promises, but you have to spend a lot of money. My aim is to create awareness among people. In election time, political parties promise this and that to get votes, and they don’t do anything after that. I have made these promises to create awareness among the people of Tamil Nadu, particularly the youth,” he said.
I chose dustbin as my symbol to depict the dirty political system: Independent candidate Thulam Saravanan
Saravanan, who works as a reporter for a local daily, said that he chose his symbol as a dustbin to symbolise the dirty politics prevailing in the state. “I chose the dustbin because we need to get rid of the garbage of bribery and corruption in the system,” he reportedly said.
Raising awareness through his unique poll promises, Saravanan said that people should come out of the freebie culture and introspect on what the political parties have done to improve their living conditions. “Various parties make tall promises during elections and seldom meet the people once they get elected,” the independent candidate from Madurai said.
Unhappy with political parties not working for the welfare of people, Saravanan said he has taken a loan of Rs 20,000 to contest elections. Mindful of the fact that he might not win, Saravanan said, “But my WhatsApp message has gone viral, and people are thinking about my tall promises and the thought behind it”.
The 234-seat Tamil Nadu Assembly will go to polls on April 6, with results to be declared on May 2. The ruling AIADMK has joined hands with the BJP to fight the Congress-DMK alliance in the assembly elections. One has to wait and watch whether Saravanan’s awareness campaign works for him or not.