Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Low voter turnout – Whose gaining?

Amid a campaign that the local body elections will be marred by violence and booth capturing… much to the surprise of many it turned out to be a low-key affair…The biggest of all surprises is Chennai Corporation, that saw a voter turnout of just 48%. The past elections for Chennai Corporation has always seen brisk voting along with incidents of mass violence…but this time things were totally different and surprising not only for journalists but also for all the political parties. Including Chennai there was a lukewarm response for the political parties call.

Whiel the Tamil Nadu assembly elections which concluded in April 2011 saw a record turn out of 75 to 80%...and quite on expected lines the results proved the people’s anger against the then ruling DMK. Well, for other political parties it may be yet another election…but for Jayalilathaa it’s a litmus test for her 5 month rule in Tamil Nadu.  Sources say Jayalilathaa is quite disappointed with the numbers that have come out at the end of the day in the name of polling percentage…

Chief Minister has asked the State Intelligence to prepare a detailed report on why there was a low voter turnout and what are the reasons? …

Ever since elections were announced in the State…it was a low key affair…neither the poll campaign took off well for all the parties…nor the people were ready to listen to yet another set of fresh poll campaign’s and promises…

The State Intelligence that conducted a pre-poll survey…gave its report to the Chief Minister, that the campaign by the AIADMK members did not go too well with the people…that is why Jayalilathaa decided to hit the campaign trail its final stages…Whispers in Tamil Nadu had already reported on how Jaya’s camp was jittery ahead of the local body polls….

Despite desperate measures by the AIADMK the elections turned out to be a low key affair…does this mean that the people are not so enthused about Amma’s five month rule?? Political analysts say there could be more than one reason…

The bad publicity attracted by Jayalilathaa’s government in the obstinate handling of the Samacheer Kalvi issue by keeping the students without any syllabus or books for more than a month till the apex court’s verdict…this has highly irritated the parents as well as teachers.  

The brutal police firing and killing of 6 persons in Paramakudi and Jaya’s subsequent stand justifying the police action by calling it a caste clash has also not gone down well with the people of southern districts…particularly Dalits across the State.

The way Jayalilathaa treated her allies has also made people to lose interest in the local polls.  During the Assembly elections when Jaya released the candidates list even as talks were going on with alliance partners…it created a flutter in Tamil Nadu politics…but then she said its was a human error and the list was released without her consent. But this time too Jayalilathaa adopted the same strategy to dump her allies…making it clear that she is still arrogant. So people came to a foregone conclusion that Jayalalitha ditched her allies only with game plan to win the elections using government machinery…and many of them saw the polling day as holiday and were busy in Diwali shopping. Was going it alone in the elections considered as Jaya’s biggest mistake??

Arresting DMK’s key personalities under land grab act is slowly taking the form of witch hunt.  Jayalalitha filing disproportionate assets case against former DMK Ministers while she herself is facing an asset case in Bengaluru also remains as a thorn in the flesh.

While all these factors are loaded against Amma, the DMK is reeling under the onslaught of a barrage of cases against its leaders.  While the DMK Supremo is not able campaign actively, it was left out to its second level leaders to take the responsibility.   Most of the second level leaders are facing police action one way or other.   In fact, K.N.Nehru, who was out of prison on the last day of his campaigning chose to be in Chennai rather than use the last day for campaigning in the Trichy bye-poll.

Further DMK is yet wriggle out of the 2G Scam as two of its prominent leaders cool their heels in Tihar with no hope of coming out of jail in the near future…and Just days ahead of the polling Kalanidhi and Dayanidhi Maran were raided by the CBI in the 2G case….

But the major factor in favour of the DMK is its strong vote bank, which is intact in spite of the huge anti-incumbency wave.  

The low turn out of voters in Tamil Nadu only goes to prove that the battle is equally poised and not in favour of anyone.  With just one more phase to go, it appears that it’s not a cake walk for Amma…as she is still expecting...