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  1. hemen parekh

    Bribing The Voters

    Retired Chief Election Commissioner , S Y Quraishi , is all set to release his book ,

    ” The Undocumented Wonder : The Making of the Great Indian Election ”

    Talking to DNA ( 15 April 2014 ) he listed some 40 different ways in which , Political Parties try to bribe voters

    Some of these are :

    > Cash
    > Depositing money in voter’s bank account
    > Liquor Bottles
    > LPG Cylinders
    > Free Rice / Food Packets
    > Payments of Electricity / Water Bills
    > Mass Feasts
    > Screening of films
    > Laptops / Tablets
    > Bicycles
    > Mangal Sutras
    > Gold Coins
    > Buffalos
    > Colour TV
    > Mixer – Grinder
    > Unemployment Allowance
    > Waiver of loans
    > Free Houses ……etc

    Political Parties are happy that Mr Quarishi , being an honest / straight forward person , could imagine only 10 % of the ways of bribing voters !

    And who cares that the EC has managed to seize a meager Rs 300 crores worth of cash so far during the current season , when all of the Rs 40,000 Crores worth of black money ( @ Rs 5 crores per candidate * 8,000 candidates ) , has escaped un-noticed ( looking other way ? ) by ,

    > Income Tax Department
    > Enforcement Directorate
    > CAG / CVC
    > Election Commission…..etc

    Even the almighty Supreme Court seemed helpless , when it held recently :

    ” Although promises of distribution of freebies may not technically constitute corrupt practice , under the Representation of People Act , they vitiate the electoral process by influencing voters and disturbing the level playing between contesting parties ”

    And since there is no difference of opinion between the political parties when it comes to exploiting the poverty of 400 million BPL ( Below the Poverty Line ) voters , I would not be surprised if the next government at the Centre , introduces a ,

    ” Bribe ( given ) Politically ( is ) Legal Bill ” ( for BPL people ! )

    in the very first session of 16th Lok Sabha !

    Expect it to be passed unanimously – and without a debate !

    Political parties are firm believer of what Kaushik Basu ( onetime advisor to PM ) once said ( – although in a different context ) ,

    ” Giving bribe must not be treated as crime

    Ordinary citizens are forced to give bribes when they are denied , service that is legitimately due to them

    If they are held innocent , they will come forward and report all instances when they were forced to bribe bureaucrats

    Only bribe-takers must be punished ”

    * hemen parekh ( 28 April 2014 / Mumbai )


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