The latest was Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which has promised Rs 1,000 monthly universal basic income to all women in every household in Punjab, replicating a promise by the DMK, AIADMK and even Kamal Haasan’s Makkal Neethi Maiam ahead of the April 6 Assembly polls.
A few months ago, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had promised Rs 10 lakh credit card scheme for students, considered to be an improvisation of student loan waiver promised by the DMK.
Long before them, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adiyanath and his rival Akhilesh Yadav of Samajwadi Party had promised free laptops to students, a promise delivered by former chief minister J Jayalalithaa in Tamil Nadu during the 2011-16 regime. The subsidised and free rice schemes implemented in Tamil Nadu under the universal PDS scheme also have backers in many State governments.
“DMK has been the forerunner for the rest of the nation for long. Coming to power in the backdrop of acute rice shortage, Anna had promised and delivered subsidised rice barely two months after forming government in 1967. Many states emulated it decades ago,” said DMK organising secretary and Rajya Sabha MP RS Bharathi.
Citing initiatives by late patriarch M Karunanidhi, including creating Slum Clearance Board, abolishing hand-pulled rickshaws, providing share in ancestral property for women and free eggs in noon meal, he said other parties and states have taken up these programmes.
“This is our answer to people who ask what the Dravidian movement, especially DMK, has done for the State,” Bharathi added.