Eelavasapuram,TN; Eelavasapuram, a small village near Coimbatore is waiting for the usual fanfare that preludes an election; crackers, sweet distribution, stage shows, high decibel speeches by politicians through loud speakers, Grinning Politician in white attire standing at the door with folded hands asking for votes, Mob fight between two parties, bribe money for votes inside morning newspaper etc.
Since the announcement of the Presidential election date by the election commission, the small village has sprung in a jubilant mood of what freebies would the various parties announce for this election.
Since 2007, political parties in TN have announced freebies in their election manifesto to lure the people to vote for them. The free TV promise in 2007 elections by the DMK made a impact and won them the state elections, not surprisingly AIADMK followed suit and announced number of freebies in the 2011 assembly elections which included; free25kg rice, free table fan, free Mixie, Free Grinder, Free cow for farmers, free Laptop for Higher secondary students, free solar powered green house built for the poor, free health insurance for the poor etc. not to mention, the free bicycle scheme for students and temple priests, and free midday meal that are existence since 1990’s.
DMK’s freebies couldn’t match that of AIADMK and thus the impact was huge as the AIADMK won an absolute majority in the assembly without any support of an outside party.
This led to the expectations of the people of Eelavasapuram, to what may be promised for this presidential election, without knowing that they have no part in this election.
“We had to wait every 5 years to get freebies, but the sudden news of this presidential election has brought smile to the village” Jayamalya aka Jaya, a villager said. “We had no idea a president existed, but now we know and waiting eagerly for the election” Jaya said.
“2011 was a good year as amma gave lots of freebies for the assembly elections, we are waiting for the announcement of freebies for this election, but we don’t know why nobody came yet even as the election date nears.” Karunakaran aka Karuna, the village’s 89 year old temple priest said. “I even snatched my grandson’s free laptop and surfed the net, and also saw news all the day in the free TV provided, but there isn’t any excitement of a usual election” Karuna said.
“We were told that the free TV provided required a repair every few months after it repeatedly brokedown, owing to its cheap production. The repair cost together could fetch 2TV’s of those sizes. But a free is a free, isn’t it?” Karuna said smiling wryly.
The performances of the freebies provided by AIADMK were not known as most of the freebies couldn’t be operated owing to frequent power-cut in the village. Except for the free cow and the rice grains, all the other freebies has the trademark Amma photo on it. While the areas where the AIADMK won is getting the freebies one-by-one, the DMK areas are parched.
“While Amma has retreated to her cool abode in the Nilgiris for the summer, leaving the Chennai’s heat, Kalaignar was last seen enjoying a party with now out in bail, A Raja in his Chennai house, nobody is caring for the presidential polls, but we have kept our fingers crossed and waiting for the day when they announce the election manifesto” Vijayakanta, one of the village drunkard said.
“As this election is for the highest post in India, we expect big freebies, not the usual table fans, grinders etc.” Poiko,another drunkard added. “It would be nice to have a free car for this election,as my leg pains while walking and pedaling the free bicycle which was provided to my son” Poiko said before falling down in the middle of the road. “A BMW or Volkswagen would be nice” he mumbled in his drunkard sleep.
“How about a Cell phone!?”Raja, the village’s only recharge card shop owner exclaimed when we asked what freebie, he is expecting. “My business would flourish, already I’m selling the recharge cards at exorbitant rates as there is no other shop around, after free cell phones, everyone would need to come to me” Raja said clapping his hand. Raja charged Rs. 30 for a ten rupees Airtel recharge card to us.
We decided to set the people right by telling the fact that they are just dumb spectators for this presidential election and their expectation are aren’t going to realize until the next state election, so we called on the village head, Balasubramania Swamy and told him the facts. But to our dismay, Mr. Swamy a pioneer in conspiracy theories didn’t believe us and led a group to believe that we (faking news reporters) and someone called Murali were the reason, no politicians have come to the village and we have usurped the freebies. Before they could hold us, we slipped out of the village.
Just outside the village, a man lay on the side of the road, highly bruised with swollen face and bleeding ear. We helped him to a hospital, when the nurse asked his name,he replied “Murali Krishnan, Sub-Inspector of Police”.