The latest to join the list is the AIADMK, which has announced Rs 1,500 per month for homemakers and six free LPG cylinders per year for every household on Monday.
It all started with Kamal Haasan-led Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM), which announced a monthly salary for housewives. The concept was soon picked up by DMK, and the party president MK Stalin announced Rs 1,000 for every housewife at the mega meeting in Tiruchy on Sunday. A day later, not to be left out in the race, the AIADMK has now topped with an additional Rs 500 plus six free LPG cylinders per year.
Ironically, every party is now claiming that this was their original idea which was stolen by rivals. When asked whether the announcement made by AIADMK was a replica of DMK’s announcement, Palaniswami on Monday clarified that their election manifesto, which was under preparation, has been leaked and DMK has copied.
Meanwhile, Kamal has claimed that it was his original idea which was even endorsed by Congress leader Shashi Tharoor and blamed the DMK for being too stingy, highlighting that even Assam was giving Rs 2000/month to housewives. One of the reasons for political parties wooing housewives could be because women voters outnumber men in 198 TN constituencies, according to EC data.
In 2016 election too, women voters were wooed by political parties by promising closure of TASMAC shops. But, in this election the wooing of women voters has manifested in the form of cash.
Meanwhile, homemakers, who are direct beneficiaries, see the announcements of political parties as merely attention seeking measures. “These announcements are just to seek the attention of women voters and nothing else. In the absence of a charismatic leader like late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, leaders are desperate to woo women voters with cash announcements,” said D Priya, a housewife from Choolai.
She also said that political parties have been wooing women voters in the past through announcements like financial assistance for marriages, monetary assistance for destitute women, widows and elderly and this time they have extended to all the women.