Populism and Anti-Incumbency: The Bread and Butter of Tamil Nadu Politics

Loyalty to country always. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.

– Mark Twain

We have been fed enough by the socially aware memologists with their ‘Admit It’ memes, lateral thinkers who blog / brag, really attentive citizens who sincerely care about the country’s future, about the need to vote, the right to vote and the significance of each and every single vote which can seal the fate of a state for the next five years. This is probably the only time, you feel proud and accomplished for dirtying your finger and never want it to fade away soon before clicking a selfie. With that proud feeling in the heart let us cut deep into stuffs that is binding the TN politics over a few decades. The 2 factors which are inseparable from the TN politics are Populism and Anti-Incumbency.

“An anti-incumbent vote is one exercised against elected officials currently in power. It allows the voters to register their discontent with sitting government officials, particularly when protesting against certain actions taken by the government or the elected officials in question”, tells our wiki. Anti-Incumbency would be only meaningful and fruitful if voters are exposed to sensible and logical alternative parties to the ruling party. The Anti-Incumbent situation in our state is more or like, a cricket match where the umpire tosses a coin and ask the winning (winner of the toss) captain to choose between Bowling and Fielding. Though Anti-Incumbency had been put on a rough patch by the humongous money launderings, whooping scams of the alternative party in house, Populism is one evil that has spread its tentacles wide on an exponential rate.

So what is this Populism?

“Populism is a political outlook or disposition that appeals to the interests and conceptions (such as hopes and fears) of the general population, especially when contrasting any new collective consciousness push against the prevailing status quo interests of any predominant political sector”, confuses wiki. Though Populism has a bunch of meanings and definitions, the one which we refer to here is the Catch- all politics or the demagogy policy adopted by various parties to win the election.

Populism

So you go to USA (for instance) and pick out a guy and ask him to differentiate between their two major contemporary political parties. “We have Democrats who strongly believes in Modern Liberalism which supports ideas of civil liberty and equality with support for social justice and a mixed economy and on the other hand we have Republicans who believe strongly in American Conservatism which involves support for free market capitalism, deregulation, restrictions on labor unions, social-conservative policies.”, answers a guy in a trumpified voice.

Ask the same question to a guy from our state, his obvious reply would be, “One party promised us to give TV and other party promised us to give Refrigerator, I already got a Color TV from previous government so I am going to vote for the party which gives me free refrigerator.” Well this is how Populism has infected our vote banks.

Though am NOTA supporter of both the major contemporary parties, but they too had ideologies when they were first founded. One party was founded with one single notion of winning a separate independent state for the Dravidians, while the other party was completely against the ethnic exclusion and inducted policies targeting the upbringing of poorer segments of Tamil society. Both, though not completely have miserably failed in its ideology over the time.

Looking forward for a Real Ideology Based Politics where people won’t require a 350 pages’ manifesto to elect a party in the near future.

Everyone of us Should Vote. But Why?

You get into an MTC on a sunny morning at Guindy bus stop and hand over a ₹500 note and ask “Anna, oru Nandanam(Brother, one Nandanam)”. The conductor would give you a striking stare that gets tattooed in your mind till you get down and he would say,”Moonu rooba change kudu(Give me 3 Change)”. You check the change section of your purse and you find the bracelet that your girl friend/boy friend gave, the ticket of your earlier bus travel and also along with them a 2 coin. How does it feel like when you don’t have that 1 to rescue you? Okay, I know its inexpressible.

Now yet again let me give you another nostalgic, embarrassing, helpless feeling. Lets say you have written the last semester exam of your life(Final year, Final Semester, One last exam). And one sudden sunny day results are out and you find that you failed in your last semester exam by one mark. One single mark. You put up your paper for revaluation and the revaluation result says “No Changes”. How would you feel? Okay, I know its inexpressible. (No offence please. I just wanted to give you that feel :D)

Imagine this happening to a deserving politician. One such politician, son of veteran politician and former governor of Kerala late B Rachiah’s, A R Krishnamurthy who lost against R Dhruvanarayan in Santhemarahalli(Sc) constituency in the 2004 assembly elections. While Krishnamurthy contesting on JDS ticket polled 40751 against Dhruvanarayan’s 40752 votes. So how would that feel? Yes again, inexpressible.

Vote

Being a part of democracy, its important that you vote. You ask me why? Let me tell you why.

Consider a strong politician X who is contesting against another strong politician Y. X in your opinion has scams to his name and is someone whom you’ll never believe. And Y who also has scams to his name but has on minimal scale along with some good governmental and welfare initiatives to his name. But again you don’t believe in him too. So you opt not to vote. And after results get declared you find X defeating Y by one vote and that definitely is yours. Now X gets into the assembly, loots more and more money. This is what is happening in Indian Democracy. We either don’t choose at all or choose to stay aloof or choose the wrong person. Now that you did not vote, you just became a reason for wrong person representing the state. And we go bonkers when they do nothing and just loot public money.

Your one vote makes every possible difference. So yes press some button of your choice on the ballot and get your index finger inked. India will improve.