April 01, 2006

A bishop, an actor and a social worker

What is common to a bishop, an actor and a man who prefixes 'America' to his name? The flavour of the season. Elections.
Summer is with us rather early this season. The mercury shot up even before April did. And with it, will be elections to the Tamil Nadu state Assembly.
I have begun looking a little closely at the political developments in the neighbourhood where I live. And I chose to look closely at three people.
The first is the Bishop of the Catholics in the Madras region. Rev. Dr. A. M. Chinnappa looks after his flock from his chambers in San Thome. The reverend is known for his work for the disadvantaged and the Dalits.
This week, we saw him in the company of his own colleagues as well as leaders of other communities, in the personal chamber of the leader of the DMK party. All of them were there to express the support of their communities to the DMK in the elections.
Everything we do, in some way or the other, is 'political'.
But I wondered if the Bishop really had to pledge the support of the flock he leads in spiritual and temporal matters, to a particular political party.
Sensitising the flock on political and social issues is important. Going beyond this could spell trouble for all of us.
The second person I looked at was actor S. Ve. Shekar. Shekar has used his brand of comedy in films and in drama to tickle people. Lately, he has thrown his hat in politics and has not impressed.
Patiently though, he has cultivated people in power and his own ambitions and has now been rewarded with a ticket by the AIADMK, of which he is a member, to be its candidate in the Mylapore Assembly constituency.
Shekar has supported many in social welfare projects over the years.
But many of us just cannot forget his bravado in promising to float a neighbourhood cable TV company when the local sharks began to tear subscribers apart. Shekar crawled under his cot soon after he had shouted from the rooftop.
Now that he is the AIADMK's man for a rather peculiar constituency - one which has the largest educated electrorate but records the lowest polling rates - I would like to note what this actor has to say all through April.
Finally, 'America' Narayanan has stuck around in the city, nursing political ambitions even as he nursed an organisation for auto drivers called INODA and kept his links with the Congress (I) party of which he is a member while running his software business. Narayanan also nursed the Mylapore-Adyar areas, hoping against hope that his party would get this seat in the profits of alliance equations and that he would be the favourite candidate.
Last week, that hope was shattered.
Narayanan though nursed another strategy. Could he project himself as an educated, politically and socially active 'local' leader and stand as an independent in this poll? And if he did, would the Mylapore electorate vote for such an independent candidate?
Narayanan will not let passion and idealism ruin his political interests. He will wait for another day.
Is there really place for strong, independent candidates in this system? Or for a small, alternate political party?

1 comment:

Vijayaraghavan Padmanabhan said...

To carry forward Vincent's query, how many of those who view this blog would vote for the best among the independent candidates, ignoring the party-based candidates as a matter of principle?
And can somebody organize a meeting exclusively for the independent candidates, where they can put forth their views so that the voter can decide whom to vote for?