Eating is an agricultural act - Wendell Berry

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

TN Elections

Nice timing this time on my chennai visit. Smack during election time.

I have always waxed eloquent on the right and duty of every citizen to exercise their franchise and how by abstaining, they lose their privilege of fundamental rights !!

My home base being chennai and life around mumbai has made it a bit tough to keep my words over last 2 times TN went to polls (2001-02 assembly and 2004 lok sabha).

I voted for the first time in 1996 when the DMK swept to power after 5 years in the wilderness. I think I also voted for them that time under the oppression of an autocratic style of jayalalitha.

This time the elections have been an interesting playout across the country and especially in TN. Factors include
1. the ageing karunanidhi and the controversial successor battles
2. the mellowing of jayalalitha (she appears less megalomaniacal than before)
3. the tsunami of dec 2004
4. the coalition arrangements - complicated caste and other mathematics
5. captain vijayakanth's entry into the fray
6. the ugly approach to attract votes with mindless freebies (seriously the election commission should take note of this despicable trend)
7. the arrival of the new age party (Lok Paritran) of IIT/IIM/Harvards and what not

historically, since MGR's time, the power has swung back and forth bet the 2. So a safe bet at start without any of the fancy psephology would safely put the money on dmk coming back into power.

But curiously, that did not seem apparent at the early phases as jaya was above in the ratings. Explanations were karunanidhi's obsession with stalin as successor, jaya's impressive work during tsunami and flood relief and rehab, and general overall TN feel good.

As the campaign progressed, the swing was setting in favour of dmk. Attributed to karunanidhi's campaign, the freebies, and a little bit jaya fatigue (also I am told that dayanidhi maran was impressive in his campaign and gave DMK that edge in covering larger swathes of the state with quality orators).

Yesterday, I reached the voting booth at 703 AM. Was 12th in line to vote. Took less than 2 minutes to get it over and done with. Impressed with the management scale of the Election commission.

Am going with the new age politicos. Early stages in their evolution, but still they need the encouragement if they are there for the long haul.

Read the exit poll analysis here.

1 comment:

Vanessa said...

Sriram, I was in Chennai just before the 2004 Lok Sabha elections.
I did see a few processions around the place where i stayed, Nandanam.
There was this huge procession and the candidate (a lady) was in a chariot. I was in my balcony, and as she passed by, she waved at me and gave me her best smile. I wondered whether she would waste that smile on me if i told her i am from bombay and am not going to vote in Chennai....
Otherwise, i really cannot comment on politics in Chennai. We did not even buy a local newspaper, we preferred a stale TOI Bombay (2 day old). Thats what our Delhiite neighbour had suggested- He himself read Delhi Times.