Now that India’s campaign in the World T20 has sadly ended, we can, for a relaxing diversion, focus on some side issues like Tamil Nadu elections.
We have been regularly receiving questions from readers on the various aspects of Tamil Nadu polls and we have decided to take them up this week because it would personally help us think up even lesser number of words than we usually do to fill this column up.
Q: We will start off with the Election Commission. How good is its work in the run up to the polls?
Ans: The Chief Electoral Officer Rajesh Lakhoni has put in impressive work to ensure that all the people eligible to vote are registered and have their voter’s ID card, which as its name makes it clear, is an ID card that offers no real guarantee for casting the vote.
The point is there can be situations when you may not be able to vote even with the voter’s ID card. And there may be situations too when you can vote even without the voter’s ID card. In essence, for you to vote, the important thing is your name has to be in the electoral list of the constituency, and even more importantly, the constituency has to go to polls.
Lakhoni is also rolling out colour voter’s ID card, where for a nominal fee you can get your ID card printed with a colour photo of yours in which you actually look like you. This will be a huge improvement from the Aadhaar card in which most of us practically look like Vikram in the film I.
Q: What are the arrangements for poll results?
Ans: Good thing, you brought this up. The last time around (in 2011), Tamil Nadu had to wait for one month to know the poll results. The reason? (Hint: You will not get it.) The answer is: West Bengal polls. Seriously, the EC felt that the TN poll results, if declared, could impact the W Bengal elections, which were scheduled for later. Hence the results were held back by a month. So by the time results were announced, the government voted to power in TN was more or less facing a strong anti-incumbency wave right on its first day of office.
But perhaps stung by criticism, the EC has undone its previous mistake by — wait for it — by holding back the West Bengal election results till TN polls get over this time.
Q: We will get political here. The AIADMK is still to officially announce its Chief Ministerial candidate. Will this affect its prospects in the election? And wait, the question is not over yet: Who is likely to be its CM candidate?
Ans: Jee whiz! That is a pretty smart observation. Until you came along and pointed out, we confess we had not realised that the AIADMK has actually not made any official announcement on its Chief Ministerial candidate. So to get further clarity on the issue, we took your question to the AIADMK spokesperson, who too was clearly caught off-guard. But when we persisted with our question, the spokesperson, pondered over it for a few seconds and responded with, I quote, ‘Hahahaha’.
As you can see, the AIADMK is clearly rattled by the pertinent point you have brought up but is merely brazening it out.
As to who will be its CM material, well, as a responsible columnist I don’t want to be seen to be making irresponsible speculation. But using my well-known investigative journalistic skills I have found out that the party’s CM candidate will be arrived at after a series of American style debates and primaries. We urge you to check Jaya TV daily for further updates.
Q: The alliance between People’s Welfare Front and Vijayakanth’s DMDK, isn’t that a game-changer?
Ans: Clearly, no political pundit was expecting that. But that is not saying much because political experts in TN can’t spot any trend or development unless it is the size of Brazil.
Anyway, Vijayakanth’s DMDK’s decision to go with the four-party alliance will doubtless give it a major boost by making it a five-party alliance. Otherwise, how well will it perform in the polls is something hard to tell but there is hope that Vijayakanth, who has been named the Chief Ministerial candidate, will somehow manage to complete a single meaningful sentence before the campaign ends. As far as Vaiko goes, there is hope too that he will keep quiet for a few full minutes before the campaign winds up.
Q: What about the PMK?
Ans: Anbumani Ramadoss is being described as the dark horse of these elections. He has been travelling far and across the State and conducting roadshows, reaching out to people by talking to them through his headset mic, as if he were auditioning for call centre executive post.
As far as his stand on various issues and policies are concerned, Anbumani is smart enough to avoid committing any strategic blunders, such as making any statement that anybody would remember 50 seconds later.