CHENNAI: Theatrical masks, street plays, dances, folk music and speeches... it was almost a carnival on the road. Coffee with MLAs, a protest that took shape as a political satire, was staged near Valluvar Kottam in the city on Sunday.
The protest was aimed at creating a platform for citizens to interact with their elected MLAs, especially the 122 MLAs who stayed in a resort at Kuvathoor before the recent trust vote in the State Assembly. The organisers said they wanted to create a platform for the MLAs to explain their stand. However, none of the MLAs turned up and the protestors decided to voice their opinion through arts.
“We invited all of them who were at the resort. Since none of the leaders showed up we’re simply having mock interactions with youngsters in masks. We’re using humour as a tool to create awareness that it’s important to socialise with your constituency MLA or councillor. People don’t know that it’s their right to ask,” said Athher Ahmed, a volunteer from Arappor Iyakkam, that facilitated the event.
Carnatic singer T M Krishna, who said that public should raise questions to restore and retain democracy, sang Bharathiyar songs before he joined the audience clapping and cheering with them. All participants took a pledge to participate in the democratic process by questioning their councillors and MLAs and other officials. “You know, dissent is powerful when it takes an art form. If all voters interacted with the leaders they elected, we’ll have a much better system,” said Srujan S, a participant.