DMK demands actions after pictures of AIADMK leaders appear on Pongal tokens
As per the recent order of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edapadi K Palanisamy, distribution of Pongal festival tokens for rice ration cardholders has been initiated in the State.
However, problems erupted when pictures of AIADMK leaders replaced the normal token cards for the Pongal festival. The normal token is a plain piece of paper carrying the token number, date of issuance, and a seal.
In Coimbatore, the tokens were replaced with elaborate cards carrying pictures of CM Edapadi K Palanisamy, Deputy CM O Panneerselvam, Municipality and Corporations Minister SP Velumani, and former CM Jayalalitha.
Staff from public distribution offices also reportedly claimed that they were threatened by AIADMK local leaders to replace the tokens with the new ones with AIADMK advertisements. Visuals of ration staff altering the tokens were also caught on camera.
Calling as cheap tactics, opposition DMK has condemned the move. DMK Organisation Secretary RS Bharati also met with Chief Election Officer Satyabrata Sahoo over the matter demanding appropriate action.
However, Chief Minister Edapadi K Palanisamy has rejected the allegation and raised counter-allegations stating that DMK was trying to stop the scheme.
Former CM Jayalalitha initiated the scheme of providing money with rice and sugar for Pongal back in 2014. CM Edapadi K Palanisamy increased the free amount to 1000 rupees in 2018 which he increased to 2,500 rupees for the year 2020 keeping in mind the pandemic induced financial crunch.
Eligible citizens can collect them in ration shops and in many areas ration authorities are distributing the cards. Each token will be provided with 1 kg rice, 1 kg sugar, 1 sugar cane, and Rs 2,500 rupees as a Pongal gift. The state government has allotted Rs 5,604 crore rupees for the scheme.