Movies are more often blamed for the wrongs happening in the society. Vijay’s recent movie Sarkar may have been dragged into controversies for various reasons but the movie did create a good impact.
In the recent elections for Lok Sabha seats in Tamil Nadu, Manikandan from Nellai and Ganesh Raja from Thoothukudi were shocked when they found out that someone else had already cast their votes. Having come to know about Section 49P in the conduct of election rules on watching Sarkar, they argued for a long time with the polling officials but succeeded in casting their votes in the tendered ballot paper after signing their names in Form 17B.
Section 49P in the Conduct of Elections Rules 1961 gives the power to a person who ‘seeks to vote after another person has already voted as such elector.’ ... Every such elector shall before being supplied with a tendered ballot paper write his name against the entry relating to him in Form 17B.
In his twitter handle, Ganesh Raja tagged the hashtag #OruviralPuratchi from Sarkar and thanked actor Vijay and director Murugadoss who had made him aware about Section 49P through their film.
Ganesh also posted a video where he was seen arguing with election officials about his vote being misused. He wrote, “When I reached my polling booth, I found out that someone has already voted in my name. The election duty officer asked me to put my vote as ‘challenged vote’. I refused saying that it would account to two people voting and demanded the 49P Ballot Vote. I had to argue with the officers in duty for two hours. Finally, they agreed. Thanks to you Murugadoss sir and Thalapathy Vijay sir.”
In yet another case, journalist Mahalingam Ponnusamy posted about a similar incident on his social media handle tagging Sarkar. He wrote, “Akin to what was projected in the film Sarkar, Manikandan from Panakudi area, Tirunelveli district (Polling Booth no 48) was allowed to vote using Section 49P after his vote was franchised by someone else.”
It may be noted that Election Commission of India (ECI) has taken various initiatives to create awareness among voters. Recently, the ECI had put up an advertisement that explains about Section 49P and asked the people not to fear if their votes were exploited.
They may have taken the cue from Vijay starrer Sarkar, which had many scenes depicting the importance of Section 49P. Reportedly, post the release of Sarkar, ‘49 P’ was trending on Google search engine for a while....