Sunday, April 17, 2011

Golden smiles

Candidates woo voters with innovative schemes in Tamil Nadu

From our Desi Times correspondent: special update 11 April 2011

Everyone is all too familiar with the methods used to seek votes in Tamil Nadu. The technique of 500-note-for-vote is already an old one. Free TVs, bicycles for school students, rice at one rupee a kilo, aand free and expensive medical insurance are some of the ongoing methods, used by both parties. The ruling party may begin a “scheme” and the opposition would do a take on that and implement “scheme plus”. In areas where the gifts are distributed at the door-step at pre-dawn hours, a power cut during those hours is a part of the tactic, ensuring that nobody knows who came and who accepted.

Since yesterday a new scheme called the Golden Smile has made an appearance. Voters are promised a gold-capped tooth – the tooth should be positioned between the pre-molar and the incisor to be seen when smiling – if they align with the party. Apparently both parties are keen to oblige the voters so we can rest assured there will be many smiles through these electoral days. One actually looks forward to all these golden smiles as one has become a little weary of the grimness after the scams.

To ensure that all these gold teeth are in place in all the mouths, several dentists have been hired. Through reliable sources it has been confirmed that about 500 NRI dentists, based in the USA and the UK, who are party patriots, have agreed to come and contribute their services for their party. State dentists, both private and those working for the government, may be hired at up to Rs 2,500 per cap which makes each tooth worth about Rs 5,000.

Since the announcement of this Golden Smile scheme less than 24 hours ago, a total of 107,433 people have already registered and the number is likely to grow at a fast clip. Tooth caps will be fitted in party centres in almost all the major cities in Tamil Nadu, including the hill stations of Ooty, Yercadu and Kodaikanal. It is estimated that these smiles will eventually cost the tax payer a sum of Rs 1.53 lakh crores; party insiders let it be known that the bosses wanted to keep costs less than what was incurred by the 2G scam.

All these potential smiles will bring many reporters and journalists to Tamil Nadu during this week. A few foreign correspondents, including those from the German Der Spiegel and the Dutch Volkskrant are also expected to cover the Tamil elections. The tourism industry which in Tamil Nadu won laurels for the maximum tourists in 2010 – beating God’s own country Kerala by a substantial margin – has been asked to gear up for the event.

The common man in Tamil Nadu, used by now to a life of free-dumb, is happy. A quick calculation has revealed that the resale value of the gold tooth, post elections, would be Rs 1200. That’s equivalent to about 20 quarter bottles of the local brandy sold at TASMAC. More reasons to smile as the money gets recycled!

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