It is election time in Telangana and the state is all set to go to polls on April 11. The election campaigns in the state have reached fever pitch, with artists promoting awareness on choosing candidates wisely. Giving a twist to the existing awareness campaigns on the importance of voting, a Hyderabad-based couple is painting empty boards on the road with a pertinent message for their audience: Honest politicians missing? Think of NOTA.
Named ‘Missing honest politicians’, the artists Swathi and Vijay are painting boards along the NH-65 Highway (Vijayawada-Hyderabad) and in parts of Hyderabad, urging people to opt for the NOTA option in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, due to an ‘apparent dearth’ in finding honest politicians.
Asking people if they have seen honest politicians, the board further reads, “Note: People having no information about this are requested to think of NOTA and report at your polling booth on April 11.’
Speaking to TNM, Swathi says they spent around 3 nights alongside the roads of NH-65, in search of empty boards where they could paint the graffiti.
“Fortunately, we didn’t face any kind of interference from the onlookers and people were just busy clicking pictures of the board on their camera and uploading it on their Instagram pages,” says Swathi.
Speaking about the tongue-in-cheek graffiti that dismisses all politicians under the common blanket of being ‘dishonest’, Swathi says, “We do agree that not all politicians are dishonest. But before casting their vote for any candidate, we want people to think whom they are voting for? Even if you have the slightest doubt that your candidate may not do justice as an elected member, people should definitely consider voting for NOTA."
Though the percentage of NOTA votes do not necessarily bring about a change in the election results, the couple say that people need to push for it and make evident their displeasure over the current state of politics in our country.
“Pressing NOTA does not change who wins the polls. But people’s mandate definitely would send a message to the candidates and make them think why a large section of people do not prefer him/her to represent their constituency,” Swathi adds.
It is not the first time that Swati and Vijay are wielding their paintbrush to take a dig at politicians. During the Telangana polls last year, Swathi and Vijay’s graffiti on the walls of a high school had grabbed eyeballs after they sketched a queue of voters lined up outside a polling booth waiting to cast their votes, as the man leading the queue casts his vote into a commode.
The couple also made news last year after they gave an artistic makeover to the schools in Telangana’s villages which were under the grave threat of closure due to high dropout rates.