Statutory warning: This blog post may not be interesting/funny to anyone without a sound working knowledge of Tamil Nadu politics and Vadivelu comedy. Those who possess an encyclopaedic knowledge of the aforementioned topics may still find it unfunny, but will know what they’re talking about when they call me an idiot.
It’s assembly election time in Tamil Nadu, so the regional channels (mostly owned/controlled by DMK, with Jaya TV doing the job for AIADMK) are obliged to spend precious airtime airing election propaganda instead of Vadivelu comedy clips. To their credit, they understand the gravity of their sin, so you see a lot of live coverage of Vadivelu campaigning on behalf of the DMK against The Gabtun. There are a lot of sly digs about The Gabtun’s name, and how a man who is always in thanni (i.e., “immersed in water”, slang for letting the odd hemoglobin molecule meander about in his alcohol stream) cannot share the same sobriquet as someone who keeps a ship above water.
Interestingly, Vadivelu did his bit to support Jayalalitha years ago, so Jaya TV retaliates by playing archived footage from back then, along with a Vadivelu comedy clip that suggests that he has the integrity of a lush. I am not yet sure if I should be gratified or saddened by the fact that all of this is at least as amusing as the regular programming.
One of the more interesting parts of the election is the vote auction that takes place. Party A promises free laptops to all engineering college students if it comes to power, so Party B ups the ante by promising said laptops to all Std. XI students. I don’t think they’ve gotten to the point where they’re comparing RAM size of their promised laptops, but the day doesn’t seem far off. The fact that all this largesse will eventually be paid for, indirectly, by the same voters, is lost on no one but not really dwelt upon.
Now, I understand that making big promises (and, on the odd occasion, sticking to them) is part of the process and to ask for it to be toned down is really not an option. But for all the free chicken biriyani and quarter sarakku that gets distributed come election time, there really is no free lunch, and I am not happy about the fact that I will end up paying the tab, one way of the other.
Therefore, in order to find a mutually agreeable solution, I propose the use of a variant of the Vickerey auction for votes. Parties can promise what they want, but the winner only needs to pay the voters whatever the loser promised.
In case you represent:
a) DMK and/or their allies
b) AIADMK and/or their allies
d) Parties north of the Vindhyas who wish to understand the idiosyncrasies of TN politics, and why Johnny Lever will never be a superstar on the campaign trail (in other words, pooja karaana hai)
e) The committee deciding on next year’s Nobel Prize for Economics
Please feel free to email me at http://www.pichchu.com. I will be there, will bells on.
ps: In case you are the caretaker of the cemetery where William Vickerey is buried and wish to complain about all the cleaning up you have to do as a result of the high-RPM subterranean movement I seem to have caused, kindly take it up with the Election Commission. I didn’t start this fire.