Will June 4 let a political phoenix rise from ashes?

For every phoenix, there is a wounded past. To rise like a phoenix one day, you should be ash first.
Image used for representational purposes only
Image used for representational purposes only

Tamil Nadu is a land of political phoenixes. History tells you that every election unfailingly punishes a party, leaving the leader in the dumps, but five years later, it breathes life into it with vengeance. The vanquished turns conqueror, and vice versa. With the Annamalai-led brigade hoping to dismantle the long-standing political duopoly and getting well entrenched for a long haul, the Lok Sabha elections have turned unpredictable yet exciting.

A generous dash of rallies and roadshows has failed to stir up voter enthusiasm and turnout. Even the Coimbatore constituency, where tonnes of flowers showered on star campaigners, refused to be an aberration. Blame it on the ominous heat wave. Issues like the ceding of Katchatheevu and the installation of Sengol died an untimely death. EVMs got a final stamp of approval from the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, daydreams of gobar gas-powered aeroplanes crash-landed in the half-baked apologies submitted in the apex court.

The Char-Sau-Paar campaign, parodied as choco-bar in Chennai, missed the bull’s eye at least in southern states and raised concerns over the potential tampering of the constitution. Busy WhatsApp rumour mills successfully concocted panic that 2024 may be the last election before India slips into autocracy. Past assertions by some that India should shed its secular credentials and embrace Hindutva may have added fuel to the social media fire.

Modi has hit back saying if anyone is trying to change the constitution, it is the INDIA bloc, his words drowning in the din. His promise to defend ‘mangalsutra’ of every woman in India till his death has been a crude reminder of their most precious jewellery that is probably lying in mortgage at a local usurper or pawn shop, if not sold for daily ration. It has a direct connection with one’s financial wellbeing in times of unemployment and inflation post-pandemic.

Critics were quick to react: What’s the worth of a promise if you couldn’t keep it while in power for 10 years? Will INDIA bloc snatch away reservations given to SC/ST to hand them over to the illegal migrants and infiltrators? Yes, says a confident Modi, consciously evading any reference to the minority community in the wake of the ECI’s delayed questioning. There are takers for such unfounded fear mongering.

For every phoenix, there is a wounded past. To rise like a phoenix one day, you should be ash first. The majestic ash-loving bird has the face of all the familiar politicians around us. So, whose turn is it to bite the dust this season so as to resurrect in the next? Wherever the polls have ended, political parties are back in their war rooms, now silently counting the votes polled in their favour and against. Most of them know the outcome by now but will continue to grin till the judgement day, say our reporters.

At TNIE, we had a fabulous election season. Our huge network of reporters across the state was on the ground, bringing to the reader every twist and turn, and the nuances of the democratic process. Stalin, EPS, and many others graced our pages with interviews. We ran constituency watches, community roundups, campaign trails, and analyses, among others, to keep our readers hooked on the feast of democracy.

As the election juggernaut enters the third phase, a debate on the core issues of unemployment, inflation, and economic growth is conspicuously missing. And so is a wave that suggests a clean sweep. It is a long, agonising wait as the election process stretches for another five weeks. Will June 4 throw up a surprise and a new phoenix? Let’s wait and see.

Anto T Joseph

Resident Editor, Tamil Nadu



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