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Stalin flays timing of Pongal gift distribution

Questioning the timing of the distribution of the Pongal gift hamper and cash to ration cardholders, DMK president M.K. Stalin on Sunday alleged that the AIADMK government was following a discriminatory approach while giving away the festival freebies.

Speaking at a marriage function of a DMK functionary in Pudukottai, Mr. Stalin said he was not against the Pongal gift initiative if the people welcomed it. The gift hampers were supposed to be distributed only in January. But the ruling dispensation had already begun giving them away, Mr. Stalin noted, and questioned why the gifts were being distributed one-and-a-half months ahead of the festival.

The DMK president said there were 10.19 lakh sugar cardholders under the Public Distribution System in the State. The deadline for changing sugar cards into rice cards had already passed. Several cardholders were yet to change their cards. “It implies that those who have not changed their cards are not eligible to receive the Pongal gift hampers. Such discrimination is unacceptable,” he said.

Countering the allegation that the DMK was attempting to stall the local body polls, Mr. Stalin said his party had sought the court’s intervention only to ensure that the delimitation and reservation processes for the wards and the posts in the newly constituted districts are completed before the poll notification is issued. But Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami was spearheading a misinformation campaign alleging that the DMK was attempting to stall the local body polls, he alleged.

“I have been strengthening the ideals of the DMK by touring every nook and corner of the State since 1966. I have risen from the grassroots. But Mr. Palaniswami, who had hardly visited any other part of the State except Edappadi, had become Chief Minister by ‘crawling like an earthworm’,” the DMK leader said.

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