When it comes to political satire, Tamil Nadu never disappoints. Even as the Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation bus strike has left the state crippled, newspapers and magazines in the state turned to humour to keep spirits up.
The bus strike, which affects nearly two crore citizens has brought out some scathing sketches on the state of governance. Featured prominently in these cartoons is the MLAs’ tone deafness in tabling a Bill in Assembly on a 91% pay hike for themselves even as government bus drivers were demanding what is owed to them.
In a brilliant cartoon in Thuglaq, the Tamil weekly founded by political commentator Cho Ramaswamy, the incompetence of the government is depicted through a simple conversation between two commuters. Even as a transport employee is seen lying in front of a bus called 'Government Administration', the Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam are sipping tea. Two commuters waiting for the bus are talking to each other. The woman asks, "When will the bus leave?" The man replies, "When did this bus ever run? For the next three years, it will stay in the same place. Instead of believing them, we can walk. Come!"
The Hindu's cartoon took a dig at the insensitive manner in which the government tabled a Bill for a 91% hike in the salaries of Tamil Nadu MLAs. The cartoon shows a bus labelled 'Tamil Nadu Government' with 'Transport Strike' plastered across it. A money bag is stashed on top of the bus titled '100% Pay Hike For MLAs'. Edappadi Palaniswami's face which forms the front of the bus appears to be smiling and thinking, "We collected our dues..."
Cartoonist Bala, who has been vocal in his criticism of the EPS government had a scathing cartoon depicting the plight of the common man. In his cartoon, EPS is seen sitting on a luxurious throne and pretending to drive a vehicle without an engine, indicating the state of affairs of the government. The throne is placed on top of a bus called 'Government Transport Association' which has toppled over and trapped a common man. A bus driver is seen angrily walking away with a wheel holding a signboard with 'Strike' written on it.
An Ananda Vikatan cartoon shows both EPS and OPS smiling gleefully while holding the steering wheel of a bus called Tamil Nadu. The image, seen as a reflection from the side mirror of another vehicle, carries a warning that says, "Reflection is small. Problem is big." The cartoon is titled "Ottunga Ottunga" which translates to drive but could also be punned to mean that the state is being taken for a ride.