Sunday, April 19, 2009

The election pulse of Chennai!

Anti-incumbency is clearly in the air in Chennai, or at least in South Chennai as far as I have observed.

There are 3 sets of voters or voting mentality at present.

One is the elite and the educated.

The second is the semi literate or semi skilled or unskilled people on whom any state policy will have a direct impact.

The third is the women voters (thaai-k-kulam)!

As far as Chennai is concerned the educated elite still banks on the Congress, influenced by the mantra of the English media on the ‘communal Hindu’ (read BJP). The elites have no day to day worries and are comfortably placed in life. So their thinking is motivated in their drawing rooms and developed by the likes of Burka Dutt. They have developed the Hindu-phobia, though they are Hindus and take pride in ‘intellectualism’ to denounce even a mention of Hindu. They have been brain washed to think that it makes them ‘secular’ and ‘cultured’ if they spit venom on the BJP and Jayalalitha!!

The second type is far more ‘thinking’ than the so-called thinking elite. Their views are not developed by TV shows nor the English media. Their thoughts are molded by what happens in the street – from policeman to price rise. They are still with ‘amma’. What more - they have strong views against the parties in power now. They ask, what safety has the central government given? What prosperity has the state government given?

They look through these questions. And they are still perplexed why amma lost the last time.

The answer for this question lies with the last set of voters – the women folk.

The womenfolk of Tamilnadu had been traditionally with MGR!

After MGR they remained with amma.

Some of them used to vote as directed by their husbands.

But a majority had a liking for MGR and his legacy.

The feel-good derived from his movies lingered on them for long.

The entertainment industry seemed to give a relaxation in their tough life.

But some thing happened in the last elections that gave a new dimension to this feel-good.

The cinema induced feel-good became available to them just a polling booth away!

As a result they set a new trend in the democratic elections by the lure of free colour TV!

It is this segment that is going to decide the election results.

If Jayalalithaa wants to get them back, she must address their desires and longings for ‘feel good’.

Already Viajayakanth is trying to cash in on this by calling himself as a replica of MGR.

But he has hardly induced any feel-good in his movies for the womenfolk.

Perhaps he has attracted the proletariat, but certainly not the women.

It is now up to the skills of the two leading parties in Tamilnadu to attract this segment.

South Chennai:-

The scenario in South Chennai is sure to put the voter in dilemma.

The sitting MP is TR Baalu of Sethu project fame who has made unexplained visits abroad that include a visit to the tax haven in Switzerland which was not officially reported to the PMO. He is not seeking re-election from here.

Apart from the candidates of DMK (R S Bharathi) and the AIADMK (Rajendran),

there are 3 interesting personalities in the fray.

The state president of the BJP (L Ganesan) is contesting from here.

Will he split in anti incumbent votes is a serious question.

Apart from him there are 2 interesting contestants –

one an IIM-ian and the other

the often heard Traffic Ramasamy.

Sarathbabu’s is truly a story of Rising Indian.

Born in a humble background, he was able to catapult his way to BITS Pilani and later to IIM. He has worked really hard to make it to the top. What more, he is making himself a role model for others – in a way that would satisfy Dr Abdul kalam. Surely persons like him must be empowered politically.

These links speak about him.

The other contestant is “Traffic’ Ramasamy the King of Public Interest Petitions.

He has been relentlessly fighting for public causes.

We need people like him armed with political power.

The right thinking voters are certainly in a dilemma about whom they must support.

In my opinion, these two contestants will be more welcome in the Assembly.

For the Parliamentary elections, weightage must be given to whom we want to come in the Centre.

I get the opinion that anti incumbency is strong in the air.

But voters also are aware that any winning combine in Tamilnadu will side with the combine that is close to making a government in the centre.

There lies an irony in that the anti-congress (DMK) vote given here can be lent to the Congress combine (UPA) at the centre after the polls! It would then make a mockery of the Voter’s wisdom. (I am speaking about Tamilnadu votes).

The average voter in Chennai is worried about how his vote is going to be used in the post-poll scenario.

But he need not worry about it.

Let us see why.

The vote for AIADMK is a vote against UPA. If AIADMK were to support the BJP after the polls, it would be a logical conclusion of the anti- incumbency sentiments of Tamilnadu voters.

But if the AIADMK were to support the congress at the centre after the polls, then that also would be logical conclusion of anti-incumbency sentiments.

For, the Congress in such a scenario would move out of DMK combine (‘true to be a good politician’, to use Jayalalithaa’s rationale) and that means change of guard in Tamilnadu!

All that the voter of Tamilnadu has to ensure is that anti-incumbency works at its maximum and his vote is not splitting the anti sentiments.

After the elections, if the BJP has a better chance at the centre (reinforced from other states), his vote is going to go with them. So the purpose of his vote will be fulfilled.

On the other hand, if Congress is going to have better chances – and Jayalalithaa is armed

with adequate numbers, then also his vote will not have been wasted.

At least at the state level, a redoing of numbers will take place.

The congress will take back its support to the DMK.

A change of Government in Tamilnadu can be expected with out a fresh election to the Assembly!

His purpose of vote for a change can be realized at least at the State level!

Mr E. Sarathbabu’s views on reservation as published in


Reservation should be a mix of all criteria. If you take a caste that comes under reservation, 80 per cent of the people will be poor and 20 per cent rich, the creamy layer. For the general category, it will be the other way around.

I feel equal weightage should be given for the economic background. A study has to be done on what is the purpose of reservation and what it has done to the needy. It should be more effective and efficient. In my case, I would not have demanded for reservation. I accepted it because the society felt I belonged to the deprived class and needed a helping hand.

Today, the opportunities are grabbed by a few. They should be ashamed of their ability if they avail reservation even after becoming an IAS officer or something like that. They are putting a burden on the society and denying a chance to the really needy.

I feel reservation is enough for one generation. For example, if the child's father is educated, he will be able to guide the child properly.

Take my case, I didn't have any system that would make me aware of the IITs and the IIMs. But I will be able to guide my children properly because I am well educated. I got the benefits of reservation but I will never avail of it for my children. I cannot even think of demanding reservation for the next generation."


Anonymous said...

Foodking Sarath Babu is Proud to be a BITSian who graduated from BITS Pilani which is one among the top ranking universities in India today. He got admission to BITS Pilani by his merit only and for that matter BITS does not have reserved seats based on caste etc.

Jayasree Saranathan said...

Thank you for the information. I have made the correction.