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Elections are coming. Are you ready?

It is that time of the year again, the time when we as kids didn’t or couldn’t care less about, but as soon as turning 18 became a big deal. Elections! It’s hardly a week away. And what are we doing about it? I don’t see much activity anywhere. Be it social media or the talks in person, the youth as I know it doesn’t seem to be all that involved. But why is it so?

Hardly two years back, there was so much fanfare for the Lok Sabha elections. Post vote selfies were trending, WhatsApp group were buzzing with activity and people were talking about it everywhere. Was it the fascination of voting for the first ever time? If it is that, it is sad. It is our duty to not only cast our vote, but do it with enough conviction as to who we would be voting for. This could have direct impact on our lifestyle as determining the ruling party of the state goes a long way in taking our city, state and surroundings forward.

A lot of my classmates have now relocated to different cities and even countries, but it would be heartening to see people come back home this weekend to cast their votes.

What all should we know?

The front running parties

These include the ruling party ADMK, their main rivals DMK with an alliance with the Congress, Anbumani’s PMK, and the third front called PWF comprising MDMK, DMDK, VCK, CPI and CPI (M). The general perception is that all these above parties are corrupt. Also, there is BJP, but nobody takes BJP seriously because they’ve never managed to breach the stronghold of Dravidian party rule in the state.

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The manifestos

Each party is trying to outdo each other by offering freebies, which seem more like indirect bribes for the voters. One sovereign gold, laptop and free internet, one week Pongal holidays for college students and the likes.

Prohibition of alcohol is grabbing headlines but only one party has come up with absolute prohibition. Rest are talking about gradual ‘phase out’ and shutting down TASMACs but nothing very concrete. It seems like a ploy to get the women’s vote bank more than anything else

Some party manifestos are outrightly funny, like 5000 farmers sent abroad every year to learn latest farming techniques and petrol and diesel prices set at Rs. 45 and Rs. 35 respectively.

It’s important to read the manifestos, and also look at the past and see if they’ve implemented whatever they had promised in the past. We’ve seen Amma canteen, mineral water, cement, cable TV, laptops and Kalaignar giving out colour TVs, rice for one rupee, etc. 

Check out the manifestos on their official websites:

http://dmk.in/admin-dmk/document/dmk2016Manifesto_English.pdf

http://aiadmk.com/manifesto2016/tamilnadu.html

http://www.anbumani4cm.com/manifesto/

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Campaign

I now live in Bangalore but I’ve received a couple of calls from BSNL landline numbers starting with “Naan ungal amma pesugiren” (I am your amma speaking). Yep, the recorded voice. Not to mention the personalised text messages. My friends tell me that the door to door campaigning is more irritating than informative. Jeeps go on the streets wailing about how one party didn’t do anything or the other party is incompetent. Be it front page advertisements on newspapers or unique songs on TV, the parties are surpassing each other trying to catch the attention of the voters.

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Candidates

We should know all the parties contesting in our constituency, and the candidate from each party. We are finally going to vote for someone who is going to be responsible for our area and it is important to know who that person is, their past, present and what they are capable of. You could be rooting for a party to win but it could be possible that the party isn’t even contesting from the constituency you belong to. Or the party’s candidate in your constituency could be a thug who you genuinely dislike.

This useful link gives you information on candidates standing in each constituency, including their criminal records and wealth:

http://myneta.info/tamilnadu2016/

We aren’t first time voters anymore, but we form a little more than 10% of the voting population, which will still have a huge impact. I might have not decided who to vote for yet, but I soon will. And you should too. Nothing much required, just spend as much time as you spend when you plan to buy something on an e-commerce platform to decide and cast the vote. Only six days to go.

 

PS: If you want something to make your day, check this link out:

http://dmdkparty.com/dmdk/?p=4010

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