Chennai: Even as 6 April Tamilnadu Assembly elections a few days away, with the sound and fury of campaign reaching the crescendo, there is no dearth of personalities, postures and promises.
The antics, gimmicks and punch lines characterising the campaign trails and matching scorching summer heat consist of all ingredients of a political potboiler.
It is customary for a roadside black magician to say abracadabra while performing magical tricks and as the show neared end, he would announce to the parting crowd of spectators to throw in coins and currency notes on the carpet spread in the middle of the ground.
If they let down him by turning their back on him, they would, owing to his black spell, die of bleeding back home. It would sound like a witch’s curse.
This age-old rustic tamasha came back to the mind when a candidate was talking non-stop during his roadside campaign.
“If other parties give you freebies and money for voting, get them. But don’t forget to vote for the DMK. Because we have brought some Kerala magicians here. If you get money from opposition parties and forget or fail to vote for the DMK, you will suffer from stomach pain.” These words from G Aiyappan, DMK candidate contesting from Cuddalore and also former MLA, set off peels of laughter, if not waves of panic, among the listeners. “Oh tempora, oh mores,” the voters had probably murmured deep down.
Even as memes flooded the social media on Aiyappan’s comments, DMK spokesperson Saravanan, when asked about the party contestant’s remarks, said, “the candidate must have made these comments in lighter vein. It is not a serious statement.”
Meanwhile, here is a candidate who comes all way to the campaign venue by helicopter (stalled by police) wearing gold layers weighing three kg, and for whom hordes of women voters make a beeline, eyes widening in wonder and disbelief at the glittering gold.
Dwarfing even the movers and shakers of the Tamilnadu politics, he grins mischievously, with dark tresses of hair flowing gently down the nape.
He is Hari Nadar of the Panangattu Padai, an outfit purportedly set up to promote the Nadar community, who pushed even actor-director Seeman’s Naam Tamilar Katchi to the fourth slot, winning 2.49 percentage of votes in the 2019 Nanguneri Assembly bypoll.
Hari Nadar, contesting the current election from the Alangulam constituency in Tirunelveli district, has been in the news, of late, for one reason or another, though not so serious, keeps the main candidates on edge.
Poongothai Aladi Aruna, DMK sitting MLA seeking re-election from Alangulam, and Manoj Pandian of ruling AIADMK and son of former Speaker P H Pandian, probably do not sleep a wink at night over the nightmarishly swelling crowds for Hari Nadar’s campaign meetings which feel like quite strange.
“Stalin (Opposition DMK president) will remain in the post of Chief Minister only for ten years”. Even as Duraimurugan, a veteran DMK leader, uttered these words the other day, a shock wave must have slithered through the rank and file of the party at Velampatty where the DMK general secretary was campaigning for party candidates Senguttuvan contesting from Krishnagiri and Mathiazhagan from Bargur.
But he had some other big point to round off his prediction.
In the same breath, he said Stalin will become the Prime Minister after a decade.
Here is an electoral promise bordering on the ridiculous. You ask for moon and he will give you if you vote for him.
The list of what sounds like utter ultra fantasies typical of the Lord of the Rings has tumbled out of independent candidate Thulam Saravanan, who has filed his nomination papers with borrowed money to contest from Madurai South constituency.
If by some quirk of fate he won the race, pipping other contenders at the post, he said he would keep his promises of a mini-helicopter, Rs one crore deposit and a three storeyed house, jewels, robot, artificial snow mountain– all trappings of an Ambani lifestyle.
Is he fooling around with the election system? Nay, he said, it’s all intended to show how voters turn into fools, lured by freebies. So much for Tamilnadu’s electoral quota of fun and fantasies.