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Thulam Saravanan promises free trips to the moon
courtesy of Thulam Saravanan/Allen McGregor, Wikimedia Commons

This wild election manifesto promises free trips to the moon

Tamil Nadu election candidate Thulam Saravanan is also promising free helicopters and robots to do housework — here’s why

Campaigning is currently taking place for state elections across India, and one candidate — seeking a seat in the Tamil Nadu legislative assembly — is making some particularly wild promises. Think: free mini helicopters and robots to do household chores for voters, as well as a complimentary trip to the moon.

Predictably, Thulam Saravanan’s absurd manifesto has gone viral since it was first shared via social media earlier this week. So has his campaign symbol, a wheelie bin, AKA a “symbol of honesty” or his intent to clean up the cultural capital of the state, Madurai.

“My poll promises have touched voters directly,” Saravanan tells ANI. “Questions are being raised on the promises which I have made; people are asking if all this is possible. I think it is possible and I am willing to spare no expenses for fulfilling these promises if I am elected.” 

Those promises also include a free car, iPhone, and three-storey house, Rs 1 crore (or around £100,000), a rocket launchpad in the area, canals and a boat for every household, and a 300-foot artificial iceberg “to keep the constituency cool”.

Running as an independent candidate, the 33-year-old former journalist made the outlandish promises to draw attention to the major political parties that promise freebies and deals throughout their campaigns, only to forget about them when they come into power. 

“I made such promises to tell them that they should choose honest politicians without being lured by freebies,” he tells Vice, adding that “bribery and corruption are rampant all over Tamil Nadu” — hence the rubbish bin logo, which also serves as a metaphor for cleaning up the region’s politics. 

In 2019, India’s election was declared the most expensive in the world, at around $8.7 billion (though that was topped by the $14 billion US presidential race in 2020). Assembly elections will be held in Tamil Nadu on April 6. Though Saravanan accepts that he’s unlikely to win, he says that getting his satirical election promises seen by so many people is a victory in itself.