Exercised my franchise by 8 AM itself.
Had a discussion/debate/fight with Appa in the morning on who should be voted to power. The tenor of the the disussion raised so much that two of our neighbours joined the discussion. And soon we had a “We the People” kinda debate. And the topic that was discussed – the Sri Lankan Tamil issue. I realized as they discussed that I was wrong. The plight of the Sri Lankan Tamils is indeed an issue here in this elections. Not only that it seem to be the major issue. Maybe my sample is limited and skewed. But the passion that was evident in the discussion made me to change my earlier opinion that the Tamil issue would not be a factor.
Add to this the power cuts that happened in parts of Chennai last night, the night before the elections. While DMK claimed it to be the handiwork of the opposition, the opposition claimed that it was the ploy of the Government as the TV channels of the opposition alliance were telecasting heart wrenching scenes from Sri Lanka. The opposition’s claim make more sense as it was not necessary for the opposition to orchestrate powercuts so that people will be reminded of frequent powercuts that has marked the current (or no current) DMK rule. People do remember it even if there is no power cut the night before elections.
Coming back to our discussion, while the Tamil issue seem to dominate the discourse, the next key question is who would be the best person to ensure a stop in the hostilities there and to take relief measures thereafter. Jayalalithaa is seen as strong willed able administrator who will keep her word.
And I think there is truth in this opinion. She has displayed in her earlier stints as CM strong political will to take tough decisions. Karunanidhi is someone who uses ‘vacillation’ as a political strategy (though sometimes effectively). Jayalaithaa is seen to be a person who can get the Tamils their due.
So what’s my sense now of where TN is going?
I would guess that the ADMK government would get anywhere between 28 to 36 seats out of 40. With the kind of stronghold that she would have on her other allies she would get her pound of flesh. And one knows what is that. The ‘minority’ DMK govt (as Jayalalithaa has consistently refered to the govt over the last two years in each and every meeting and interview and public statement) days seem to be numbered in Tamil Nadu.