It is getting to be hotter than the hinges of Hades already but nothing deters the band of volunteers. The Man from Madras Musings alludes to the campaigners of the various parties as they go around the various areas of our city, palms pressed together in greeting, the face permanently split into a wide smile and the back bent in a posture of supplication. Long after they are gone, their smile remains. How they keep up this yogic posture and attitude for entire days and weeks may be a mystery to many. Not so to MMM, who has an explanation – all the torturing of the body is offset by the five years of rest that the elected representatives get. For that matter some of the defeated ones relax too – some of these people manifest themselves only during election time.


As in every election, MMM notices that there are the quixotic candidates, the ones who come from professional backgrounds and take to politics with the hope that they can make a difference – all in one election of course. These are easily identified from their entourage, which is a handful of people. They go from door to door, introducing themselves to the voters. The latter are polite, and smile back. They know that this is the least they can do for someone who is bound to lose his/her deposit. These independent hopefuls receive an inordinate amount of media coverage, in the space that is usually reserved for people who cycle across the land or walk from continent to continent. MMM can still remember the paper coverage given to a group of NRIs, who gave up their cushy jobs, came to Chennai a few decades back, formed a party and stood for elections. Not one made it to Parliament and they have not been heard of since. Perhaps they are back to their cushy NRI jobs. As for their promises to stay on and improve society, well well…


A couple of elections ago, an actress known for her sterling portrayals on screen contested a seat on the same clean image platform. She came a cropper and as far as MMM can see, she is back to acting, lending her voice, playing some roles in cinema and being the central character in a dreadful TV serial. The problem is, not one of these people have opted to stick on in politics. They just hoped to make it big within a few weeks. When that did not happen, they moved on.


You need to compare this with the ones that stay on. These are the kinds that nurture constituencies, irrespective of victory or defeat. Do your duty and bother not about the fruits of your actions said the voice of God and these people are true followers of that dictum. They stick around. They organise rallies and political meetings. They dig the local platforms to erect party banners and block streets to put up stages for their leader’s speech. On leaders’ birthday and (as it happened in the recent past) day of death, they are around, organising poor feeding on a big scale with some liquid refreshments thrown in. If the water supply fails they organise protests. They are around when there are floods, riots, fire or famine. Once in a while they encroach public space to conduct a celebration or two, or put up a water-dispensing kiosk. They are dab hands at funerals knowing everything from flower arrangements, to drum beaters to dancers to the supply of the stuff that cheers.


Whom would you vote for? MMM would any day select this latter variety as compared to these airy-fairies who suddenly appear promising clean Government.