Wednesday, May 10, 2006

My Vote

Disclaimer: At the time of writing this - The results of the recent election have not been released. I may contradict myself many times during this post. I saw it and decided to let it be.

Most people will empathize with sons, daughters getting yelled at by their parents for poor show in report cards, poor choice of girl friend, dress etc. In the history of parent-child yelling I will be the only one to get scolding because I voted for the "wrong" people. My dad has been at it for the past 2 days calling me names and complaining to everybody at sight that I voted for a bunch of school kids call "loga patron". Yes! I was among the 27 people in Madras who went against all 'logic', 'rationale' and 'commonsense' and voted for Lok Paritran. No this is not an advise blog on "changing the world" by voting for Lok Paritran. I really dont care whom my readers vote for and I wouldn't be offended if they chose not to excercise their franchise.

My cousin's entire class decided to vote for Lok Paritran in order to help them get back their deposit. Nobody, including me, have any illusions about, Lok Paritran's chances in the elections. I especially detest this "ex-IIT students" tag that get attached to them. Most candidates aren't even ex-IIT. With a name like Santhanam Vasudev, I won't be surprised if people thought he was from North India and refused to vote for him. Have you ever heard of a TN MLA candidate with a surname ? Where is this world coming to? :-)

This is the first time I got to vote since I turned 18. Until now, the election commission simply refused to give me franchise. I, like 97% of the voters in India, had no logic behind my vote. Initially, I had my own superficial and ill-informed reasons to vote for Jayalalitha. Mainly because she is one of the most articulate and ruthless Chief Ministers, I have seen in India. Like it or not - she caught Veerappan and nobody else did that. I loved the fact that she fired lazy government employees, who refused to work and put in a performance evaluation system for State Government employees. If somebody asked W. Bengal state employees to work, there would be riots in Calcutta. But in the last minute, I arbitrarily changed my vote to Lok Paritran. There was no rationale but let me try and retro-justify it. 2% of the decision rationale was based on the fact that the Lok Paritran campaigned with dignity. The candidate stood in front of schools, temples and other public places and basically said "please vote! while you are voting please make your decision count and vote for the people you like" . I liked this dignity. Ofcourse its idiotic and suicidal but in a romantic sort of way its okay. 98% of the decision was based on things like (a) I would not be eligible for most of the color TVs and computers and (b) found it hard to waste my first vote on one of the usuals.

However, overall - Lok Paritran did a very poor campaigning job. In fact they were pathetic in this aspect. The watchman/domestic maids/autos/old people, whom I spoke to did not even have a faint idea as to what I was talking about. Many, including my dad thought I had gone mad and was imagining non-existent parties. Most 'independent' candidates were more popular than Lok P.

I never paid attention to politics. Mainly because I thought people who discussed politics were extremely boring people. I still think so. But 2 weeks of hearing every possible political opinion has driven me mad. I am sure all these half-baked political-armchair-analysts are completely wrong and no one knows what they are talking about. However, for a person who has no real passion or interest in any party winning, it is amusing to see that voting rationale is still purely based on caste. Not that I disapprove. I am pretty sure some caste-based-voting rationale exists for every caste/community/religion in India. This what I found out from 3 sample communities to whom I unfortunately pretended that I was listening.

1) Thevars, the predominant caste in TN, vote for ADMK. Reason: Lot of 'help' given to thevar caste by Jayalalitha govt.

2)Muslims and christians: Vote for DMK. External Alleged Reason(from my watchman, a senior political analyst): Karunanidhi's atheist philosphy applies to only Hindu Gods. He only says Murugan does not exist. He does not say Allah and Jesus does not exist. This works for these 2 communities, who are still peeved by J's anti-conversion law. Internal Reason: J seems to have developed pro-Hindu image, which she can't shed anymore.

3)Upper Castes/Brahmins: This community's vote is largely irrelevant and does not influence any voting trends. But for academic sake: Voting for DMK is against the very fibre of their being. Karunanidhi should not come. The choices boil down to Captain/ADMK/BJP. Even though BJP is a logical choice and under normal circumstances people will vote blindly for BJP, 'north indian' parties have no meaning in TN. So now logic is - prevent DMK from coming to power by voting for the lesser of the 2 evils - Jayalalitha.

Ofcourse, The Hindu newspaper's exit poll completely contradicts my theories. For my part, I decided that I can't set field for bad balls and can't vote negatively. I went in saw the buzzer opposite to the 'axe' symbol, pressed it, saw the red light beep and walked away.

10 comments:

Ram said...

watch out... the Captain's men r coming!!

Chandru said...

I voted for Lok Paritran too....
as you said....J 's got pure nerve...fired govt. employees, killed thugs....above all, solved the water crisis in Chennai....

c2c said...

I can't believe how parallel our lives have been the last few days. I was in India during elections as well, ended up voting for Lok Paritran and got a fair bit of stick from my dad - "You wsted your vote" and such like. Even blogged about it briefly here: http://chennaitochicago.blogspot.com/2006/05/live-from-chennai-part-5.html

Anonymous said...

Hawkeyeview,

You fool! .. I had been calling you to tell you about .. Lok Paritran .. since you never called back, I couldn't tell you.

You know who this is .. so call me when you get back.

Suresh Ramani said...

I don't think its entirely meaningless to vote for a losing candidate - apart from helping them get back their deposit, it could also give them enough reason to keep fighting.

Suresh

Anonymous said...

yay! me too
after n number of yrs finally got to vote
and yes for lok paritran
the only difference from your story being that my dad voted for them too

i know nilu would find this puke worthy but i felt so happy that my first vote went to l p!

Hawkeye said...

ram,

captain's men are coming w/o deposits :-)

chandru,

unfortunately the only good thing back fired on her

Hawkeye said...

karthik,

ithukku pesaama unmai sollama... we cud have said 'rettai elai' or some other usual symbol

Hawkeye said...

anonymous,

dei yaaru da nee :-). i havent returned many calls.. athula unthu ethu?

Hawkeye said...

suresh,

ya u r right. if i were s.vasudev i would mul;tiply the # of votes by 2 to know what my actual base is

anonymous,

voting is an arbitrary personal decision. you can have any reason and think it is right regardless of whether nilu thinks its puke worthy or not. i practically voted for LP for the same reason as u did. the only difference being my dad didnt vote for LP