Millennium Post

Jayalalithaa and her disillusioned auto-wallahs'

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An encounter with auto-rickshaw drivers in Chennai mostly leaves commuters drained and exasperated. They drive recklessly, for most of them traffic rules are meant to be broken, and they argue over fares, despite the fact that metres are installed in almost all the autos. <o:p></o:p>

But last Wednesday, I came across an auto-rickshaw driver, Murugan, who himself was so frustrated that he was in no mood to scuffle over fare. He said okay when I asked him to ply by fare metre. I got on the auto to my destination which was 15 to 20 kms from my home. On the way I started making a few phone calls trying to schedule an appointment with a political leader in the city for my next assignment. After the call ended the auto-rickshaw driver asked me “Madam are you a politician?” The moment I said no he started venting out his frustration. And the reason for his frustration was the ruling government of Jayalalithaa, The God Mother of Tamil Nadu.

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As per Murugan’s calculations Jayalalithaa’s AIADMK will not get anything more than eight to ten seats out of the total of 39 seats in Tamil Nadu, whereas DMK’s share will be around 15 to 18 seats. Murugan is not a supporter of either of the Dravidian parties, but said that during Jayalalithaa’s tenure murder, loot and chain-snatching are taking place in the state. She promised to improve electricity situation in the state but it has been three years since she came to power and the situation is no better. At least some work was done during DMK’s regime, he said.

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He was quick to add that he and his family voted for Narendra Modi, that is BJP, on April 24 when Tamil Nadu went to polls. Till I reached my destination Murugan, who sounded like dada of the autowalas gang, gave a picture of how his fellow auto-drivers feel about Jayalalithaa government and about Modi.

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Yesterday I met another auto-rickshaw driver Sathya who also expressed his disenchantment with the Jayalalithaa government and was in support of BJP. “This is Lok Sabha poll so we voted for Modi. Had it been assembly poll we would have gone with the regional party,” Sathya said, explaining why he voted for BJP.

By arrangement with Governance Now

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Shivani Gaurav Chaturvedi

Shivani Gaurav Chaturvedi

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