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A supporter holds up a placard bearing the portrait of southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and General Secretary of The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) Party J. Jayalalithaa during celebrations in Chennai on May 16, 2014. India's triumphant Hindu nationalists declared "a new era" in the world's biggest democracy Friday after hardline leader Narendra Modi propelled them to the biggest win in 30 years on promises to revitalise the economy.  AFP PHOTO/STR / AFP / STRDEL
A supporter holds up a placard bearing the portrait of southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and General Secretary of The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) Party J. Jayalalithaa during celebrations in Chennai on May 16, 2014. India's triumphant Hindu nationalists declared "a new era" in the world's biggest democracy Friday after hardline leader Narendra Modi propelled them to the biggest win in 30 years on promises to revitalise the economy. AFP PHOTO/STR / AFP / STRDEL
Tamil Nadu

After Tamil Nadu, Kerala politicians turn to freebies for votes

Team Lede

Team Lede

In November 2015, political hawks in Kerala were in for a surprise. In six out of nine seats in the local body polls in Idukki, Palakkad and Kollam, a hitherto alien political party had won. Neighbouring Tamil Nadu’s ruling party – the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) – now had six councillors to boast of in Kerala.

Locals say the ostentatious display by the party piqued their curiosity in the run-up to polls. “We had never seen so much fanfare, so many cars and jeeps and flags and banners and whatnot,” said a resident of Peerumedu ward in Idukki district in the run-up to the local body polls last year. For the first time they were offered freebies too – an umbrella with a picture of Jayalalithaa on it. Such was the clamour that voters in the neighbouring wards began to ask their candidates why they did not receive such gifts.