Monday, May 01, 2006

Lok Paritran vs Desiya Murpokku Diravidar Kazhakam

When everyone thinks the battle in Tamil Nadu is between DMK and AIADMK, I see that it is also going to be extremely important for two other parties, both debuting in elections.

Lok Paritran aims to be an all-India party. It has registered itself with the election commission and is contesting in 7 seats in the Tamil Nadu Assembly Elections 2006. Five of the seven seats are in Chennai, with the other two being Villivakkam (Thiruvallur) and Mudukulathur (Ramanathapuram). The candidates are young, highly educated and the party aims to clean up the political junkyard. There seems to be a reasonable support for this party from several educated people - the retired middle class group which is sick of the DMK, AIADMK brand of uncouth, goonda politics as well as some young graduates.

DMDK - a party started very recently by Tamil actor Vijayakanth is more ambitious and has been preparing quite well for the last few months. It has put up its candidates - all on its own - in almost all the constituencies. This is also a registered party, but yet to be recognized and has been allotted with "Drum" as its symbol in most constituencies. It is well funded for a new party - all Vijayakanth's money and money from his fan club.

Lok Paritran frightens me with its ideology. Its website seems to have several similar phoney passages. A sample for you here:
Reality is a continuum. Knowledge system, in shortest, is fragmentation imposed upon the continuum of reality. Fragmentation is always a necessity for understanding of the unknown. Every fragment in the knowledge system becomes a construct or an entity that is defined in the knowledge system. This very fact shows that different knowledge systems can be build on the same reality based on different possibilities and patterns of fragmentation.

....

Entities are abstraction and should not be viewed as objects or elements as such, but patterns residing over continuum of reality, or in physical world, over continuum of material. So, the structure of knowledge system that is built over the patterns or entities will have a continuum of the levels of abstraction.

and so on ....
This is the best way to drive people away.

A political party must have a well defined agenda. It must have thorough understanding of the existing condition in the country. Thankfully, the party's election manifesto is a far better document. It puts up a eight-point agenda:
  1. eradication of corruption
  2. effective implementation of schemes
  3. transparency and accountability
  4. eradication of poverty and unemployment
  5. improved public health and sanitation
  6. improving the condition of farmers
  7. improving the level of education in the state (of Tamil Nadu)
  8. ensuring constituency development fund is properly spent
There are some details on how these will be accomplished, but there is nothing drastic or innovative there. I do believe that it can mostly be achieved by good governance - from top to bottom and semi-decent policies. Currently most of the wastage happens because of corrupt governance and not necessarily because of bad policies.

I hope experiments like Lok Paritran succed in the longer term, though I am not going to vote for them in this election. They have put up a candidate for my constituency - Thousand Lights - but I can't find any information about this person in their site - their candidate list is partial and broken. Their candidate has not attempted to contact people in the constituency. I understand lack of money is may be a problem. I read somewhere that they are using Internet and emails effectively, but I am yet to receive any emails or email forwards or sms message or anything of that sort.

Vijayakanth does not claim to have a complex ideology. He wants to offer corruption-free administration. He has promised a lot of things to the poor - 15 kg of free rice a month, ration items home delivered, and several other freebies to various sections. Though he started offering all this well before the DMK, AIADMK promises, he has not found sufficient media coverage.

My guess is that both parties will lose all the seats. DMDK may possibly win one. They will lose their deposits in most of the places, if not all.

I think Vijayakanth will demonstrate his vote percentage as victory, and will continue in politics for the next 5 years at least. I am afraid Lok Paritran candidates may not show the same degree of enthusiasm. If they do, that would be wonderful.

My advice to Lok Paritran:

1. Get to the grassroots. Go to villages and small towns and stay there and work for their betterment. It is possible. You can make a huge difference.
2. It is not possible to just tap the disgruntled retired middle-class votes and win elections. Your programmmes have to be more concrete.
3. Highly educated candidates will not translate into effective administrators. Nor is it a highly desiarable characterestic. Most educated people that I know do not understand the problems facing our society.
4. Keep standing in elections at various levels. Go to panchayat elections. It is easier to explain to people and fight on simple one-point agenda - the problem of immediate concern to people.
5. Work out a detailed study of where the previous Governments have failed. Explain the same to people in simple languages. Explain how you would be different and why therefore people should vote for you.
6. Either think of a nice abbreviation or a Tamil translated name for your party in Tamil Nadu. Otherwise, you will fail. LP perhaps? Stay away from Sanskrit in Tamil Nadu.

4 comments:

  1. Hi Badri,

    Excellent topic. I agree with you on Lok Paritran. I think they have a long way to go. I hope they are in for the long haul. Politicians can't be made overnight. They will have to demonstrate their willingness to stay and reform. They have to make them visible to the public. If they can do all these then they have a shot in the long run. I hope they are serious about this whole exercise.

    - Eshwar

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  2. I agree its important 2 get 2 the grassroot level. But think about this, LP is a fledgling party, and cant go immediately campaining and contesting in villages. Might be they will be able to do that in the next elections, which might be part of their political strategy. Its easy to spread information at urban level than in rural level. Further what they need rightnow is competent advisors than criticisers, for we might not get a young, competent party like this again, that can be moulded into a winner with right and dedicated people behind it. Its going to be tough and it will take time and dedication to prove their mettle, but they will come out with flying colours, if they persue with the right attitude.

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  3. Kanal Pakkangal writer Chella has told many of the points in a rather strong way. They wont move off from E-groups in TN! - Ramesh from CBE

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  4. "Most educated people that I know do not understand the problems facing our society."
    You are absolutely right!

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