Chennai: Jayalalithaa`s first 100 days in
office after storming back to power in Tamil Nadu with a
landslide mandate saw a mixed bag of unveiling of welfare
measures and reversal of pet schemes of previous DMK regime,
besides a crackdown on land grabbing.
The AIADMK supremo started her third innings as chief
minister on May 16 by inking seven files to give effect to key
electoral promises, including free 20 kg rice to family card
In her first major policy decision, Jayalalithaa dumped
the Rs 1,200-crore new Assembly-Secretariat, a pet project of
DMK chief M Karunanidhi, citing administrative reasons and
announced that she would function from the 17th century Fort
St George, a move dubbed as political vendetta by DMK.
She also ordered a probe into alleged irregularities into
the construction of the complex, inaugurated by Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh in March last year.
Later, she announced setting up of a multi-super
speciality hospital and a new government medical college in
the sprawling complex, putting at rest speculation on the fate
of the incomplete structure.
Other pet schemes of DMK regime such as medical insurance
for the poor, free colour television and housing were also
scrapped by Jayalalithaa, though insurance and housing schemes
have been replaced with new ones.
The first three months also saw Jayalalithaa government
ordering a crackdown on land grabbing, fulfilling yet another
poll promise. Jayalalithaa during the campaign had alleged
that DMK men were behind land grabbings and vowed to restore
the land to the rightful owners after coming to power.
Senior DMK leaders, including its regional satraps and
former ministers Veerapandi S Arumugam, KN Nehru and NKKP
Raja and confidants of Union Minister MK Alagiri, son of
Karunanidhi, have been arrested as the government claimed to
have restored Rs 419 crore worth of land to their owners.
Stung by the action targeting party functionaries,
Karunanidhi said the spate of arrests reminded him of the
Emergency days but asserted the DMK cannot be finished off by
such action and would bounce back.
Police have received over 10,000 complaints about alleged
land grabbings ever since special cells were set up in the
districts to deal with such cases.
The government also reversed the controversial decision
of DMK regime to shift the Tamil New Year to the month of Thai
(January), a move resented by several Hindu groups besides
Jayalalithaa herself in 2008.
Jayalalithaa not only reverted the New Year to the Tamil
month of Chithirai (April) as had been traditionally
celebrated but also charged Karunanidhi with hurting people`s
sentiments by his move which she described as `useless`.
However, Jayalalithaa government faced embarrassment when
it lost the legal battle over its move to defer the Uniform
System of School Education with the Supreme Court directing it
to implement the scheme from this year itself, ending
uncertainty faced by 1.2 crore students.
The chief minister started implementation of her promised
freebies such as free rice and four grams of gold for
`mangalsutra` for women getting married besides announcing
that schemes like providing goat and milch animals and free
laptops to students will be initiated in September.
A sum of Rs 8,900 crore has been allocated for the new
schemes in the regular budget presented by her government.
She also took up the Sri Lankan Tamils issue and the
assembly unanimously adopted a resolution piloted by her
seeking imposition of economic sanctions on Colombo by India
and immediate rehabilitation of internally displaced Tamils.
While blaming the DMK for leaving the state with Rs one
lakh crore debt, she slammed the Congress-led UPA for not
granting a special component plan of Rs 2.5 lakh crore.