ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Democratic Process Not Yet Lost in Tamil Nadu

The AIADMK is certainly not as invincible as it appears after the elections in Tamil Nadu. It is possible for the DMK to consolidate and register substantial gains in elections to rural and urban local bodies due in October this year. As for the left, it will be the first time that neither the CPI nor the CPI(M) will be represented in the state assembly.

There was little doubt over J Jayalalithaa’s All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) returning to power in Tamil Nadu. Analysts as well as a section of those who lost the elections have blamed it on the people of Tamil Nadu falling for freebies on which a lot has been said and argued either way. A debate is possible on whether such welfare schemes as free rations of staple grains and an expanded public distribution system to ensure prevention of hunger deaths should at all be equated with promises of subsidies for two-wheelers and laptops and thus condemned as populism. However, the fact is that such practices seem to have come to stay and it will take concerted efforts to distinguish welfare measures (to be retained as a matter of conviction) from acts of corrupt electoral practices.

However, it is certainly not anyone’s case that the people, in general, are amoral and are given to trade their democratic right to vote with money and material goods. The fact is that the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) too had tried this in 2011 and lost the elections then, and the AIADMK too could not sweep the polls this time despite the massive amount of cash that reached the voters on its behalf. There is evidence that the democratic process is not yet lost.

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