Washing Clothes to Begging: TN’s Out-of-the-Box Ideas for Votes
Some candidates experimented by registering complaints by the road while some took to begging for votes.
Whoever said election campaigns are boring must have not met this bunch of Tamil Nadu candidates contesting the 2021 Assembly polls. Contestants from both the ruling AIADMK and the Opposition DMK, and in some cases even independents are grabbing eyeballs with their campaign ideas.
The candidates canvassed by reaching out to the common voters through everyday activities like washing clothes and cooking food. Some of them even resorted to begging. All of these candidates decided to ditch conventional campaign methods to seek the voters’ attention.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, too, experimented with unconventional styles of campaigning when he swam with the fishermen of Kerala off the coast of Kollam, and cooked and ate Tamil Nadu’s ‘Kaalan’ or mushroom biriyani when he visited the state.
Out-of-the-box, amusing or downright bizarre? You can take a look at these campaigns and decide what they are.
‘No More Washing Clothes by Hand’
Thanga Kathiravan’s campaign caught the fancy of many as people stopped and watched the AIADMK candidate wash clothes in the middle of a road in his constituency – Nagapattinam. According to reports, Kathiravan sat down to wash clothes for a woman who lives in Vannantheru. The candidate’s message was simple – poor families no longer need to suffer while doing household chores as they can now get washing machines, a poll promise in AIADMK’s manifesto.
As he washed the clothes, Kathiravan was greeted with slogans, such as ‘victory to the two-leaves symbol’. The candidate handed over a piece of clothing that he washed to its owner as he wished her well.
Peddling Vegetables...And Schemes
In Singanellur, AIADMK’s KR Jayaram sat on a stool and sold vegetables, like bitter gourd, tomatoes, aubergine, etc, at the Peelamedu market in Coimbatore. Jayaram later met the vegetable sellers of the Peelamedu market and promised that new schemes for traders will be implemented if the AIADMK comes to power. He also made note of their grievances.
Sowing Seeds of Support
In Madurai, AIADMK MLA and Minister for Revenue and Disaster Management RB Udhayakumar worked in the paddy fields in Thirumangalam, his constituency, to seek votes. As Udhayakumar sowed paddy seeds in the field, the women farmers around him cheered.
The minister also did door-to-door canvassing, touched the feet of elderly voters and sprinkled water on the foundations of buildings in his constituency to seek support.
This is How Some Candidates Roll...Beedis & Dosas
Another innovative campaign was that of DMK candidate T Sampath Kumar. Standing from the Edappadi constituency in Salem, Sampath is contesting against Chief Minister Palaniswamy. The DMK candidate visited a beedi-making unit and helped the women workers roll the products.
Another DMK candidate Prabhakar Raja, contesting from Virugambakkam in Chennai made hot, crispy dosas for voters in a unique election campaign. A viral video of Raja cleaning the hot pan and spreading the dosa batter at a roadside stall was widely shared on social media.
Begging for Votes
An independent candidate from Madurai wore a torn vest and veshti and took to the streets, begging for votes, quite literally. The candidate asked for ‘votes as alms’ by holding a yellow placard with the words ‘give me your vote as alms. This place will become better’ scribbled in Tamil.
If the previous campaign wasn’t weird enough, actor-turned-politician Mansoor Ali Khan, sat next to a pile of garbage on a street and jotted down the grievances of voters on a small notepad. Khan, who is contesting as an independent, from Coimbatore’s Thondamuthur seat was wearing a black vest and a green striped T-shirt over it.
United by Faiths
Independent candidate Noor Mohammed of the Kinathukadavu Assembly constituency in Podanur had a secular message for voters. Wearing an Islamic skull cap, a rudraksh around his neck and holding a rosary to spread the message of religious harmony, Noor asked voters to vote for his symbol – the gift box.
Another Culinary Experiment
In Kerala, Roshy Augustine, MLA and Kerala Congress (M) candidate from Idukki, made parottas at a local hotel as part of his election campaign. A viral video showed Roshy slapping the parotta dough on the stone to make it bigger before cooking it.
(This was first published on The News Minute and has been republished with permission. With inputs from Shilpa Nair.)
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