This Article is From Apr 16, 2016

Joining Prohibition Party, PMK Goes Solo In Tamil Nadu Elections

The PMK has promised total prohibition in the Tamil Nadu and not in a phased manner. (PTI photo)

Chennai: With a 4.5 per cent share of votes in the last elections held in the state, the Vanniyar community's political emissary the Pattali Makkal Katchi or PMK party is testing the poll waters on its own for the first time.

And just like the two big parties in the state it's Chief Ministerial candidate Dr Anbumani Ramadoss is promising dry days ahead in a state where state-run liquor shops generate an annual revenue of Rs 27,000 crore, funding a range of populist freebies schemes over the last ten years.

The differentiator: total prohibition as opposed to the phase-wise liquor ban promised by Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa.

Dr Ramadoss claims he has alternate revenue generation plans to offset the loss. "By taking over granite quarries and beach mineral mining we can generate Rs 85,000 crore. We don't need any money from liquor sale," he has said.

Addressing the long-standing water wars with neighbouring Karnataka and Kerala, the PMK is offering a Rs 50,000-crore irrigation project and a separate budget for agriculture.

"We have enough water but not well managed.  Across major rivers we would construct dams every five kilometres so we can save lots of water. Now all of it flows into the sea," he said.

Over the last several polls, the PMK switched sides between the Dravidian arch-rivals every time and improved its tally. But in the 2011 assembly polls, it won just two seats and in the last Lok Sabha polls it allied with the BJP and won just one seat.

Pitted against Dr Ramadoss are corruption allegations during his tenure as Health Minister in the Congress-led coalition government at the Centre. But these are politically motivated, he says.

For around two decades it was the PMK which has been actively demanding and campaigning for prohibition. The MDMK followed suit and for the first time Prohibition has become a poll issue.

In a five-cornered contest, elections in Tamil Nadu will be held on May 16 with the results due on May 19.