Saturday, May 13, 2006

Good Bye, See You After Five Years !

Election-time never fails to drive me crazy.

Every goddamn newspaper, magazine and television channel has some aged politician flashing his smile, with all the sincerity of a 4-year old begging for a lollypop. Everybody is busy discussing chief-ministerial candidates, possible outcomes, coalition-politics and/or despairing about the 'state of affairs' and commenting on 'the good old days' and the 'bygone era' and such crap, with all the seriousness and earnestness of experienced political analysts. What's more, they insist on dragging me into these inane conversations, asking me my political inclinations, favorite candidates and every other related thing they can think of. When I try to explain to them that I am the least bit bothered, there are two reactions: either they agree with me saying there is 'no use' and go back to the 'state of affairs' conversation, or they look at me condescendingly and remind me how its my 'duty' to be involved and vote and 'change the system' and ... - you get the picture.

Now, I have never understood how it is my 'duty' to help in bringing to power yet another corrupt fuddy-duddy, who probably spends time in Parliament having wet dreams about a good-looking nurse and a bedpan. Sure, it is my constitutional right to cast my vote to whoever I deem honorable and responsible enough to take up a cudgel for me, if it comes to that. That is my right, not my duty. Many people seem to think that voting is a barometer for patriotism; they keenly walk up and inform us that they went to vote with great difficulty, and then proudly display that little black mark on their finger. What's worse, most of these people vote for the party (or for that party that supports their caste and/or religion, but that's a different albeit sad story altogether), and not for the most deserving candidate (IMO, there is no 'most deserving' party), which is a pathetic state of affairs, really.

For instance, look at the Tamil Nadu elections. The 82-year old Karunanidhi, whose DMK was dismissed off by every media pundit in the country as having 'no realistic chance', romped home in style on the strength of his so-called 'brilliant' manifesto - an offer of a color TV for every household. It beats me how the DMK would ever fulfil this utterly unrealistic promise, reeking of bravado and a desperation to hang onto power. Now, the other side - the AIDMK headed by Jayalalitha - are no saints, but at least they made no rash promises like these. The third equation in the fray, the filmi hero trying his hand at politics, offers a frggin' goddamned cow for every household. Thank your holy stars he didn't win, or we would have had cows tied around the pillars of every flat! Now whether Karunanidhi lasts the term is debatable (there are all kinds of rumors in the air, ranging from doctors' prognoses to dire predictions from soothsayers), but I hear that the people are already disposing of their old B/W TV sets.

Now, Kerala politics is not as complicated. Every election, the so-called 'incumbency factor' somehow comes into play. This merely means that the people get sick of the existing goverment, and vote the opposition to power. This has been going on for donkey's years now, and as a result elections mein utna dum nahin hai. The ruling party doesn't waste much money on rallying people, giving enthusiastic speeches etc, while the opposition party runs pretty frugal campaigns - after all, everybody knows which way the vote's gonna swing this time. But the tussle for chief-ministership is pretty funny. Both the Congress and the Communist parties are filled with old geezers who still cling onto power desperately. There's Karunakaran of the Congress, the wily old fox, who's swung more ways than a goddamn pendulum in these last weeks. Then there's old Antony, the sacrificial lamb of the Congress. And there's the new CM from the Left (oh, he's pretty ancient too), who I would be ashamed to point to as being from my same state, forget being the CM.

Then we have the BJP, who have been having it bad from every direction. First, a leader with a decent public image (they don't have many of those, do they?) dies on them. Advani's been trying so hard to bend over backward to let go of his hardliner image, he almost looks like Prabhudeva from a distance. And good old Sonia's wallopped them every which way now, they probably think she's Mohammed Ali reincarnated or something! Now, for some inexplicable reason, Aamir Khan is gunning for Modi too (not that I mind, he deserves anything he gets).

Anyway, election-time is over. Except for some sting-operations or sex-scandals, hopefully these politicans will be unheard of for the next 5 years - blissful silence!

Amen.

P.S: I guess this would qualify as a rant, huh !!

2 comments:

Immigrant in Canada said...

I remember my dad going for voting on an election day..He gave us all a lecture about constitution and how important it is to vote, so democracy prevails..
He came back, we checked his nail for that sign that he voted..no tell tale sign, nothing, nada, zilch..
Later we found out,Someone took the right enshrined in the constitution from my dad and voted on his behalf, in our wonderful Kerala!!

Ranjit Nair said...

@Immigrant in Canada: I remember the same happening to a certain Mr. Suresh Gopi a couple of years ago, who shouted filmi-ishtyle dialogues to all and sundry, to no avail. And talking of pure coincidence, I saw Suresh Gopi yesterday on a flight back from Bombay!