Chandrababu Naidu is an honourable man. He means well, at least, that is what the ‘non-voting arm-chair techies’ keep blogging. “During his (Naidu’s) time Hyderabad was a world class city,” rues one and he vows to vote for him. Many communities too express the same opinion. Kerala Association for instance came out strongly for Naidu, who the leaders said had an eye and ear for all. Everywhere the TDP leaders seem to get a warm reception as is evident during his several “sweating yatras” in the pre-poll days. Why then the repeated rap on his knuckles?
For answer don’t ask Naidu. He wish he knew. For this, a neutral well-wisher of Naidu should examine other circumstantial evidences. Before the search for answers, analyse the voting behavior of the latest by-polls.
What sticks out like a sore thumb is the complete miss the voters gave to the issue of corruption. TDP was the only party that dared to put up a candidate on the point of corruption. Chikkala Ramachandra Rao, a fair name in the constituency, was made to represent Anna, denoting anti-corruption movement. Congress won. Elsewhere, Naidu, went hammer and tongs at Jaganmohan Reddy who, be believes, should long ago have been in a padded cell. And, the Congress, well, it is the mother of all corruption, he’s sure. Well, when the result came it was Naidu’s turn to get surprised. His corruption-loaded litany was a hit, all right, but a hit on his head!
This is no problem of the TDP, really. We now know that the voters are becoming more and more selfish because they are made selfish by our vote-catching politicians. Remember stories of Mowgli? The man cub brought up by the animals also reflects some animal instincts, which is but natural, much like pets unwittingly show a tenor of human behavior. We get what we feed.
If any lesson is to be learned in the latest by-elections, it is this: Voters’ behavior is ruled by two things: 1. the emotional issue in the election 2. What’s it for me?
Voters are interested in knowing what is there for them. In this sphere the ruling party has an obligation to ensure that its welfare deeds reach the target group; and, not just reach, seen to have reached. For the Opposition, it becomes their bounden duty to prove the opposite… that the claims of the ruling party are baloney.
While the Congress and the TDP forgot their dharma, the YSRC won on the point 1 alone.
Voters too cheeky?
But listen to a couple of things that came forth in this election. The BJP candidate Chinna Yogaiah Yanam from Ongole constituency made a shocking revelation that many of the villages in Ongole Assembly constituency are demanding that the mainstream political parties dole out funds to construct religious places like temples, mosques and churches in their villages. “According to my information, the villagers of Pelluru Cherukumpalem villages have received huge sums of money for construction of religious structures from mainstream political parties like Congress and YSR Congress party. Both these villages are major Gram Panchayats with large number of voters,” Yogaiah told Postnoon on Monday.
According to Yogaiah, voters are seeing by-polls as an opportunity to fulfill their requirements. “You cannot fault voters for this. They have a need and this need is being fulfilled by political parties in exchange for their votes,” he hastens to add lest the voters turn against the party.
Tailend: Humouring voters is as old as head-count democracy. A quarter century ago, when giving money was deemed a corrupt practice — which some conscientious candidates did not want to do but were compelled to join the crowd — a candidate in Surat, Gujarat, came up with a brilliant idea. He distributed a day before polling shopping coupons of values of Rs 50 and Rs 100. Departmental stores were beginning to become popular then. The election commission could not take action against it. Every law has a law breaker.
The writer works for Postnoon
About the Author (Author Profile)
PK Surendran is senior editor at Postnoon.