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Meme candidates and peculiar campaigns

“Meme” candidates have been garnering more and more votes. This is not just a statement on the increasing popularity of memes but talks about the problems people face against politicians as a whole. Politics has become a dark murky place, and it’s looked upon with disdain.

The UG-1 elections took place recently, and five candidates were elected by the fresher body to represent them. This decision was to be made after knowing people for around 50 days, and to let them represent you for a year. This article is about the chaos and the farce that subsequently took place.

Firstly there were the applications themselves. Quoting a political idea from Douglas Adams, any person who wishes to wield power is precisely the person who should not be wielding it. However, such an idea may work in a comedy novel but reality is often disappointing. As part of the application, a manifesto had to be submitted. The manifestos just stopped short of claiming to end world hunger. The idea of a fixed budget seemed incomprehensible to the enthusiastic first-years.

This was when I decided to help conduct a social election regarding the election. What if we could elect a meme candidate? Would such a candidate even be voted for? With numerous castes and friend groups forming their own vote banks, we reasoned that the vote base will be divided. The vast majority lies on the centre though, and it was that group that we decided to sway, convincing them to vote for a meme candidate for the lolz. 

The campaigning was door-to-door. We called our friends up and told them to vote for NOTA, and that our NOTA has a name. For students fueled with ‘Fight Club’ and ‘V for Vendetta’, such an idea was certainly more appealing than voting for a random candidate. We campaigned till three that night, and some more the next day. Memes and texts were shared on Whatsapp, and other people also joined in on the joke.

Even amongst these jokes, the election had very apparently taken a darker turn. Discussions near JC about whom to vote for had become intense, and the UG-1 batch group saw several flame wars. People were kicked out, and things as a whole weren’t a wholesome batch experience but an indication of just how divisive things are. 

The results were mildly unexpected, with some popular candidates failing to win. Another stand-out was the absence of a single girl in the MPs, perhaps unsurprisingly. In an electorate where they are about 10% in strength, getting 20% first-choice votes isn’t the most likely outcome. The most important news though, was how our NOTA candidate registered a win. 

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