Tamilnadu recorded the highest ever polling in this Assemble election, raising the suspense on the outcome of the elections. I read the different stories circulated on the net and assessed the basis of the computation of such stories. On my part I too have a story of what could have happened on the polling day and I cross checked with the information from people from many parts of Tamilnadu and did some ground work.
The basic mantra that made the people to come out in huge numbers to vote was
‘corruption’ and that ‘this government must go’. There is no difference between any segment of the society. All people, rich, poor, women, men, youth and the old have come out in full strength and voted. That itself shows that there is a wave – a wave that this government must go. This is re-confirmed in the re-poll yesterday which recorded 80% polling. With no ‘voter mobilization’ (read cash-for-vote) and intimidation (thanks to the vigil of EC), these voters went to the booths with a free mind of their own.
(A polling booth in Madurai. Pic courtesy - The Hindu)
I found an early signal of it on the night before the polls when lacs of people including me, crisscrossed the State to reach to their native places to cast their votes. And what a sight I had! The crowd in the bus stands surpassed what we used to see on Pongal and Deepavali vacation. The glaring feature of the crowd was that all of them were in their twenties!! Many college students and working youngsters were rushing back home just to be on time to cast their votes. To see the sea of youth everywhere around was unbelievable.
The same scenario greeted me when I landed in my home town. I was dropped nearly half a kilometer from the bus stand because everywhere there were people and people who were looking for some transportation to go to their destinations in the South. Mine is a border town and people were dropped in my town from where they had to go to their respective places. The previous night saw heavy movement of people traveling on bus tops, clinging to the ladders in the back of the buses and traveling in precarious conditions!! This is the first time I have noticed such a crowd in my town (an industrial town) hurrying to travel by whatever means and ways they could get and be back to work the next day.
Do you think these people went like this to vote for the DMK??
Everywhere we were hearing people exclaim how people were anxious to vote this time!
The predominance of youth in this crowd was something that could not be missed.
It gave only one message.
They wanted to voice their opinion against corruption.
From a TV debate I heard that nearly 80 lac youth voted in this election.
That means 80 lac solid votes did not go to the DMK.
The youth are not happy about the way corruption is eating the society and they could not stomach the way the Tamil’s name was shattered by A.Raja and his masters. Each of the 80 lac youth can have an influence on at least 2 persons in their family, namely their parents. That puts the number to 2.4 crores who voted against corruption.
That means that out of 3.67 crores who voted in this election, 2.4 crores could have voted against corruption, which means against Karunanidhi. This itself puts the number to two thirds of the total voters as those who voted against corruption. We should remember that this group is widely spread across the state. Even the poor households have their wards studying in Engineering colleges in some corner of the State and these wards are not amused by the politics of corruption.
(picture courtesy - The Hindu)
Even if it is assumed that only half of this number constitutes the youth, then also the total share comes to one fourth of the total voters. Every family including mine made sure that our wards are there in town to cast their votes. The usually passive middle class and the rich also came out of their houses this time to make sure that the ‘bought votes’ were offset by their votes.
Yes, only 2 issues prompted these people (passive citizens who used to stay indoors on the polling day) to go to the polling booth this time. The main one is that with the news of ‘cash for votes’ getting some how distributed inspite of strict EC vigilance made people determined to offset the effect of such votes by casting their votes in full strength. At the most 10% of the swing could have been made by the voters who voted for cash. This margin must be offset and that is what prompted these people to come out in full strength to vote.
Another issue is the worry of bogus vote. People did not want their votes to be cast by others which would go to the benefit of the corrupt regime of Karunanidhi. Earlier people had not bothered about it. But this time, if they slackened, then there is no way Tamilnadu can be saved – no way can they save themselves. The grip of MK’s family and his goons is there all across the state that no section of the society can say that they are not affected by them. From a flower vendor in the street to a well do person who wants to sell his house, there is a tale to tell about the highhandedness of the police and the DMK men. People have been struggling to find a solution. This election offered them a solution. Jayalalithaa’s prime stress on law and order and restoration of lost properties must have sent clear signals on how they can get back the lost sense of security. The Election Commission’s activities ever since polls were notified, infused confidence in all sections of the people that even the ultra rich felt that their vote can certainly turn the tables, in spite of cash for votes.
Ask anyone in Tamilnadu if they thought the people voted for cash. Why should they - they will ask you back. The reasons they cite is that money has gone to DMK supporters and not to all. The average money per vote was Rs 200 only and this is hardly a factor to induce them to vote. The EC’s sustained campaign in all vulnerable constituencies of the South asking voters not to vote for cash, in effect served as an anti DMK propaganda. DMK was the party that was wooing voters with cash and now if people are not to vote for that cash, it is like telling that they must not vote for the DMK! Many got the money but there was no guarantee that it was converted into votes. Recall the report on the day of polling that Alagiri wanted to go around the constituency as he received the information that the DMK men were ‘not doing their duty’. He was stopped by the security around him.
What duty was that? To understand this ‘duty’, we must know the steps in “Thirumangalam formula”. (1) Cash and kind will flow. (2) There will be several rounds of warnings that they must vote as told. (3) On the day of polling these voters will be watched and reminded. The last 2 steps could not be done thanks to EC’s watchful eyes. There is no way to remind (another term for ‘threaten’) the voters what they must do.
This has made the DMK and Alagiri not to go ahead with the 4th step – that of announcing the victory margin!! Only once we heard Karunanidhi saying that he will win in the necessary number of seats to form the government. That means the DMK and Congress had flooded the money in 117 constituencies for sure. Did they really manage to do that?
It seems so, if we take women vote share as the yardstick. Women have outnumbered men in 104 constituencies in 20 districts.
The split-up is as follows:
43 of these constituencies are in the southern districts —
34 constituencies in the central region showed more women voters. They are in Tiruchi, Karur, Perambalur, Ariyalur, Pudukottai, Thanjavur, Tiruvarur and Nagapattinam. These are the worst affected areas by land sharks of the DMK and there is every chance to believe that the anger of the people far outweighed the cash that was given.
19 constituencies are in Chennai, Tiruvallur, Kancheepuram,
This refrain was found only in cities such as Chennai and
8 constituencies in the western districts had high women voter turn out. They are Krishnagiri, Dharmapuri,
In the final analysis, in the 43 constituencies in the South as mentioned above, we can not rule out DMK hand of cash translating into votes. But it must be remembered that this region saw the maximum vigilance by the EC. So Karunanidhi’s calculation may go wrong.
The role of SHG which has 69.91 lac women is the only source of hope for the DMK. They are supposed to be responsible for ‘voter mobilisation’ by bringing in more voters to the booth. This time also it is said that money was sent through them. But the flow of money was far less this time thanks to the EC’s ways. On an average Rs 200/ had gone to the vulnerable sections. But this time there is a criticism that money had gone to DMK supporters and not to all!! That makes the difference.
Not all the SHG members are DMK loyalists. But lure of money had made them work for the DMK and also cast their votes to the DMK in the previous elections including the 2009 Lok sabha election. Such effectiveness was not visible this time, say the people at the lower rung.
Perhaps the massive turn out of women in Rishivanthiyam explains the reason for higher women turn out. Traditionally Tamilnadu women had supported MGR. It was retained by Jayalalithaa. Never in the past, had it been claimed that women sided with the DMK. The SHG did not bring in more women voters in the past. There is no way to say that they brought in more women voters this time.
On the other hand the high number of women voters in Rishivanthiyam reminds of MGR days. Vijayakanth attracted women in his meetings. Jayalalithaa too attracted women. But that was markedly absent in Vadivelu’s meetings and Stalin’s meetings – the only 2 people whose attraction potential can be assessed through roadside meetings.
The supposedly upset supporters of Vijayakanth for aligning with ADMK were seen not worrying about that, after Panruti Ramachandran made it known in
meeting that Vijayakanth will be in the Opposition after the win. Vijayakanth’s oft repeated dialogue “நான் தட்டிக் கேட்பேன், தட்டிக் கேட்பேன்” (I will question the misdeeds) which he exhibited in action too were liked by his supporters. I think Vijayakanth’s vote share would have increased this time. Vadivelu’s smear campaign could help him to get sympathy for him. Coimbatore
This leaves us with the only justification we hear from the DMK that women were attracted by their achievements (freebies they offered). They have not understood women’s psychology. No woman will accept that she is happy or satisfied. Ask the women voters about the cash for votes, you will hear them saying how somebody else was given more, but they received less. Similarly you ask them if they were not happy with the one rupee rice, they would say who would pay for the dhal that is selling sky-high. Price rise was the real fact that hurt all sections of people. Talk of free colur TV will remind them of power cuts which is another issue with the common man.
In my assessment price rise and power cut were the issues with the rural people while corruption is an issue with the urbanites and the educated class. The entire state is affected by these 3 issues.
The EC’s fantastic role in curbing the ‘voter mobilisation’ techniques infused confidence in the people that their vote will not be wasted in a tsunami of cash for votes. This time, I am sure every voter felt proud after casting his or her vote. The voter got a sense of importance that he can decide the fate of the politicians; he can decide what he wants for his country. It is people’s power seen throughout the State. If the election results reflect this assessment of mine, I will be truly proud of my fellow Tamils that they had risen in time to tell the world that we are honest and straight forward people who would not allow corrupt ones to eat our resources.
Some amusing scenes in this election.
வில்லன், சூப்பர் ஸ்டாராகி விட்டார். (Election Commission)
சூப்பர் ஸ்டார் காமெடியன் ஆகிவிட்டார். (Rajinikanth)
காமெடியன் ஹீரோவாகி விட்டார். (Vadivelu)
ஹீரோயின் எக்ஸ்ட்ராவாகி விட்டார். (DMK’s election manifesto)
அம்மா, வாத்தியாரம்மாவாகி விட்டார் (ரௌடிகளை அடிக்கும் வாத்தியார் எம்.ஜி.ஆர் பாணியில்) (Jayalalithaa)
வாத்தியார் இடத்தைப் பிடிக்க விரும்பின ஹீரோ,
ஆப்புக்கும், ஹாஃப் –க்கும் வித்தியாசம் என்ன என்று
பாடம் சொல்லித்தரும் வாத்தியாராகி விட்டார். (Vijayakanth)
ஜனங்க என்ன ஆகப் போறாங்களோஓஓஓஓஓ