This was not a pre-election survey in a state going to polls in less than six months, but a novel inititiative that TOI took to reach a consensus on the ‘Newsmaker of 2020’.
The exercise was undertaken on two platforms – an online survey that was open to all and the other for TOI subscribers, asking them to respond through an SMS. The names vying for eyeballs included chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, DMK president M K Stalin and actors Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan, among others. And not to forget, the Covid pandemic, which has forced most people to remain indoors for months.
The first survey – that was run through Google forms through a QR code in print and a link on social media – polled 1,228 votes. The polling carried the risk of someone pushing their own agenda by picking up the link and voting en masse for a person of their choice, since the survey link was in the public domain.
Notably, out of the 1,228 votes polled in this survey, chief minister Palaniswami got 835 votes and accounted for 68% vote share, and was voted the ‘Newsmaker of the Year’ in Tamil Nadu. Though some smart IT cell techies in the AIADMK could have been at play, it is not easy to push aside Edappadi K Palaniswami from the popularity race, as his party leaders as well as some leaders from the opposition would vouch for.
Calling himself a ‘common man’s CM and a farmer, Palaniswami was ubiquitous – inspecting Chembarambakkam reservoir one day and stepping into flooded paddy fields to assess the damage personally the other day.
Rajinikanth, who announced on December 3 his official entry into politics after launching his party in January this year, was ranked second in the survey. While he kept everyone guessing for most part of the year, he has been hogging the limelight ever since that announcement. He grabbed a 10.7% vote share by polling 132 votes. Covid (coronavirus) remains virulent and came third with 65 votes, followed by M K Stalin (45 votes) and Kamal Haasan (28 votes).
Interestingly, Rajinikanth pipped Edappadi K Palaniswami to the top slot in the SMS -based survey among readers. Out of the 621 votes polled totally, Rajinikanth bagged 210 votes with a vote share of 33.8%. Covid continued to scare him by coming a close second. It polled 189 votes with a vote share of 30.4%. Chief minister Palaniswami could account for just 13.7% vote share with 85 votes, while Stalin was placed fourth with 56 votes for a 9% vote share. Kamal Haasan came a distant fifth with 25 votes for a 4% vote share, while ‘others’ got 24 votes.
Views expressed above are the author’s own.
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