A minister in Tamil Nadu said on Sunday that only members of the ruling party in the state could avail the government’s welfare schemes, PTI reported. He was addressing new members of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam at an event.

“AIADMK party card is what identifies us and is equal to our life itself,” Sellur K Raju said. “All party members should have the card. Only if you have it, can you get government welfare schemes benefits, either for you or your family.”

Raju is the co-operation minister of the state. He was mocked in April 2017 after he covered the surface of a dam with thermocol sheets to prevent evaporation.

Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam dismissed Raju’s statement and said such schemes were for all. All welfare schemes were meant to benefit the ordinary and poor people and all sections of society, irrespective of their party affiliation, Panneerselvam said.