Notes for Votes? Lies,cash,liquor and elections

Cover image: Lok Sabha election 2019: Seizure of cash, drugs/narcotics, golds and other valuables has already crossed the figures of 2014 Lok Sabha election. (Photo: ANI)

 

A national survey saw 41 per cent of our voters admitting that their votes were influenced by distribution of cash and liquor, writes TJS George.

 

T J S George

The New Indian Express

14th April 2019

 

Election manifestos are known as platforms parties put up to deliver their campaign speeches full of lies. Standing on these platform they speak to the crowds to show how their plans and programs are far better than those of other parties, and so they should  vote for them.

To convince the voting public, who do not have much time or capacity to think, it is enough to have what they call “Gift of the gab”, or capacity to speak. Election speeches are usually full of enticing promises, even to get the moon for them,  which are not going to be fulfilled. People know that. So they usually vote for the tangibles they can get instantly like bottles of liquor or enough and more money to buy them.

 

To run on, not to stay on!

It is best described when they say: “Election platforms are to run on and not to stay on!” Think of all the promises Modi made five years ago and how many he fulfilled. This applies equally also to all parties at election time. So now the saying is: “Vote for notes!”

The one who is able to give bigger amount of money wins in the voting contest and the winning candidate in turn extracts double that amount from the public through bribes or fixed amounts payable for services elected representatives are supposed to do as free service.

That is the anatomy of the corrupt election practices we have reached so far.

 

Raids to fool the public!

The ruling party now is conducting regular raids at the homes of opposition candidates to capture the vast amounts of money they are keeping ready to bribe the poor voters. It is questionable whether we will ever succeed in correcting this malpractice. The Election Commission is supposed to do it.

The country will have to produce more Gandhijis for that. The only alternative is to educate the voting public to become more duty conscious. Government is our business. Vote for corruption-free candidates, even if you can’t resist the temptation, not to receive liquor or cash freely given for your vote. james kottoor, editor CCV.

 

 

Please read below

TJS George’s

article on Election Malpractices!

 

Winston Churchill told us that it wasn’t polite to refer to lies as lies, that we should be cultured enough to call them terminological inexactitudes. But such phraseological definitudes do not apply to party manifestos in India’s hit-and-run democracy.

 

BJP spokesmen call the Congress manifesto a pack of lies, and Congressmen describe the BJP manifesto as a field of falsities. Both are right. The only question is: Will a double dose of lies trick the Indian voter?

 

 

Perhaps the question underestimates the voter. A national survey saw 41 per cent of our voters admitting that their votes were influenced by distribution of cash and liquor. That points to two virtues of the Indian voter. First, his honesty; he won’t cheat the suppliers of cash and liquor. Second, he doesn’t pay attention to the lies the parties tell. Knowing that they are lies, he pays attention only to things that are tangible, physical and consumable.

 

The voters’ honesty also highlights the importance of money. To ensure that the 41 per cent voters do their duty, small change won’t do. You need cash in gunny bags, almirahs, canvas containers, godowns. Hence the hundreds of crores that are being unearthed by income tax raiders. If you haven’t noticed already, all the raids have been in the homes of opposition leaders and their associates. No BJP leader has been raided because no BJP leader would handle black money. They are patriots, desh bhakts.

 

 

Such being the ground realities, it may not be necessary to attach too much importance to a party manifesto. Obviously the BJP doesn’t, for it did not even pay attention to proof-reading. The result was that the BJP manifesto declared that it would make provisions in the law to “commit crimes against women”. Or maybe, it wasn’t a proofing error; may be the karyakartas were merely saying what they were trained to say. As a concession, however, they corrected the manifesto statement to make women feel a little better.

 

The twin manifestos proved once again that all parties seek refuge in populism. Each party felt free to simply give away cash. The BJP’s PM Kisan Yojana was estimated to cost Rs 2 trillion, while the Congress’s minimum basic income scheme’s cost was put at Rs 3.6 trillion. Basically these are freebies. Where will the money come from and how bad will be the impact on the economy?

 

The real difference between the two manifestos is that the Congress aims at the poor while the BJP aims at firing up nationalistic fervour. The Congress wants to ensure Rs 72,000 every year to 20 per cent households that come under the poorest of the poor category. The economic thinking behind this has won a measure of appreciation from professional planners despite its essentially populist nature. Their argument is that the Congress plan is doable without causing significant upsets in the overall economy.

 

In contrast, the BJP manifesto emphasises security, defence build-up, anti-terrorist preparations and even a global programme for promoting yoga. Clearly the BJP is trying to cash in on the Balakot strike, a point the prime minister made obvious when he asked the youth to vote for India’s defence forces. “As if the army belongs to him,” said Mamata Banerjee. More significantly, former defence chiefs and civil servants publicly protested against pushing the army into politics. The PM’s statements were in violation of the code, but there has been no action.

 

The BJP manifesto makes no effort to soften its hardline approach to issues it has already made combustible. Its inflexibility over Jammu and Kashmir and over the northeast states continues to make things worse in both areas. Ignoring India’s multicultural essence, the BJP is out to “mainstream” all stakeholders into its ideological straitjacket. Only the use of force can push such a policy forward, and the consequences of using force for such divisive ends could be catastrophic.

 

The BJP is led by shrewd men. That they approach the elections without making any concessions to any group shows that they want things to go their way, no arguments please. Amit Shah misses no opportunity to maul the Congress. Noticing that the Congress’s Kerala ally, the Muslim League, was among those who cheered Rahul Gandhi when he filed his nomination from Wayanad, Shah said he couldn’t make out whether Rahul was in India or Pakistan.

 

Imran Khan heard that in Rawalpindi and came to Amit Shah’s support. He said a BJP victory in the election would be welcome as it would lead to “some kind of settlement in Kashmir”. With Pakistan backing BJP, victory is assured.

 

Isaac Gomes gives further inputs from India Today on drugs, cash,and liquor being used by Netas during Lok Sabha Election 

Daily tracker: How drugs, cash, gold and booze are keeping our netas busy in 2019 Lok Sabha election

Drugs seized during the 2019 Lok Sabha election so far is equal to the weight of 10 adult male Asiatic elephants and the quantity of liquor seized will fill roughly four-and-a-half Olympic-sized swimming pools. Read on to know more.

 

Reported by Mukesh Rawat

in India Today

16 April 2019

 

In case you have not realised it yet, in one form or the other you are witnessing history unfold. Never before have 900 million (90 crore) people attained the power to decide who will govern them for the next five years. The 2019 Lok Sabha election in India is historic not just for its sheer size (being the world's largest democratic election till date), but also for its contribution to deepening democracy in the context of expanding universal adult franchise to an unprecedented scale.

But history is often punctuated with contradictions – some more diametrically opposite than the rest.

Take the 2019 Lok Sabha election for example. No doubt it's the world's largest democratic exercise, but it is also true that this democratic exercise is punctured by the flood of daily reports chronicling the use of money power by political parties to influence voters.

WHY DOES IT MATTER: A FLASHBACK TO 2014

Data of the Election Commission of India show that Rs 2,99,94,30,804 (that's nearly Rs 300 crore) in cash was seized during the 2014 Lok Sabha election. This was besides the 1,61,84,508 litre of liquor and 17,07,04,08,671 mg of drugs/narcotics (worth hundreds of crores of rupees) that was seized from different parts of the country.

These numbers would make more sense if we simplify them in these terms:

1) The cash seized during the 2014 Lok Sabha election was equivalent to 75 per cent of the donation received in cash at the Sai Baba temple in Shirdi in 2011.

2) The quantity of drugs/narcotics seized was roughly the same as the weight of three adult male Asiatic elephants and a baby elephant put together. (An adult male Asiatic elephant weighs nearly 5,000 kg.)

3) The liquor seized in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections would easily fill nearly six-and-a-half Olympic-sized swimming pools.

Five years on, things have only worsened. Political parties have sharpened their skills and are today excelling at using cash, liquor, drugs, among others, to influence voters during elections.

In the past 22 days (March 26-April 16), Rs 6,83,28,90,000 in cash has been seized in India. This amount is 127.80 per cent more than the total cash seized in 2014.

Comparing the data for 2014 with the data for this year, we find that the total quantity of liquor seized this year will soon surpass the quantity seized in 2014 Lok Sabha election.

For drugs/narcotics, the seized quantity in just these 22 days is already 2,919.78 per cent more than the total quantity seized in 2014.

This trend shows that with more than a month left for the Lok Sabha election to end, this amount is set to rise exponentially. (Voting for last phase of 2019 Lok Sabha election will be on May 19 and results will be declared on May 23.)

WHAT CAN WE DO?

IndiaToday.in has built a daily tracker (above) which will provide you a daily updated data on seizures made during these elections across the country.

The reason why we are using data only from March 26 and onwards is because from that day the Election Commission of India started releasing daily reports on seizures.

These seizures are on account of politicians possessing/distributing/transporting illegal cash, narcotics and drugs, distributing liquor, gold and silver items and a host of freebies and gifts among people to lure them to vote in their favour. These activities are prohibited under the Representation of Peoples Act.

IndiaToday.in's daily tracker will be updated every day and will provide you the latest data on violation of election law.

For your convenience, we will also breakdown the data and simplify it using interactive digital tools to give you state and political party-specific information.

LET'S BREAKDOWN THE NUMBERS:

According to the Election Commission of India, as on April 16, 2019, cash and goods (drugs, liquor, gold, silver etc) worth Rs 26,04,41,00,000 (Rs 2,604.41 crore) have been seized across the country. This boils down to more than Rs 100 crore every day.

Most of this amount comes from seized drugs/narcotics (worth Rs 1,144.47 crore), followed by cash (Rs 683.28 crore), precious metal like gold, silver etc (worth Rs 512.77 crore), liquor (worth Rs 213.764 crore) and freebies/gifts (worth Rs 50.113 crore).

For our elephant, swimming pool and cash donation analogy, we find that:

1) The quantity of drugs/narcotics seized so far (51,373.724 kg) is roughly equal to the weight of 10 adult male Asiatic elephants.

2) The liquor seized would fill four-and-a-half Olympic-sized swimming pools.

3) The cash seized is nearly Rs 280 crore more than the cash donated at Sai Baba temple in Shirdi in 2011.

Another example that will help understand the size of this total amount is the fact that the amount seized so far in this election is already 70 per cent of the amount that the Government of India spent in conducting the 2014 Lok Sabha election. Government expenditure for conducting 2014 Lok Sabha election was Rs 3,870.34 crore.

THE NATIONAL PICTURE:

An analysis of daily seizure reports shows that while cash, drugs, liquor, gold etc. are being seized every day across the country, there are five states that contribute more than 70 per cent to this.

As on April 16, 2019, Gujarat's share in cash and seized goods was Rs 543.38 crore. This was followed by Tamil Nadu (Rs 510.76 crore), Delhi (Rs 398.40 crore), Andhra Pradesh (Rs 216.29 crore) and Punjab (Rs 207.02 crore).

The data analysis also shows that political parties in different states behaved differently in terms of using cash, liquor, drugs, gold/silver and freebies to influence voters.

In states like Gujarat, Punjab and Delhi, the highest contribution comes from the seizure of drugs and narcotics. In Tamil Nadu, political parties are relying more on distributing gold, silver and other valuables to influence voters. And in Andhra Pradesh, cash is the main contributor to the total amount seized in the state.

DRUGS: GUJARAT, DELHI & PUNJAB ON TOO HIGH A LADDER

Between March 26 and April 16, cash and goods worth Rs 543.38 crore have been seized in Gujarat. But 96.45 per cent of this amount (Rs 524.11) comes from seizure of drugs and narcotics.

In the national capital, drugs and narcotics make up 87.46 per cent (Rs 348.48 crore) of the total amount (Rs 398.40 crore) seized during these elections so far. Much of these drugs and narcotics were seized on April 10, a day before voting for the first phase of Lok Sabha elections.

Meanwhile in Punjab, drugs/narcotics worth Rs 160.04 crore have been seized so far.

What also needs to be noted is that though drugs and narcotics contribute the most to the seizure amount in Gujarat, Delhi and Punjab, in terms of quantity (kg seized), these states aren't the leaders.

Authorities have seized 14,704 kg of drugs/narcotics in Maharashtra; 6,675 kg in Madhya Pradesh; and 18,886 kg in Uttar Pradesh.

Now, contrast this with Gujarat where the quantity of drugs/narcotics seized is 128.86 kg. This mismatch between quantity seized and its market worth suggests that the contrabands being circulated/seized in Gujarat, Delhi and Punjab are of a much superior quality than the ones being supplied elsewhere.

ALL THAT GLITTERS IS GOLD IN TAMIL NADU

While politicians in Gujarat, Delhi and Punjab may like to influence voters by transcending them to a different zone, in Tamil Nadu, it's a different ballgame altogether. Here, politicians believe in cashing on in people's materialistic cravings manifested in the love for gold, silver and other precious metals.

This perhaps explains the fact that worth of gold, silver and other valuables seized make up nearly 57 per cent of the total seizure amount in Tamil Nadu.

The distant second in seizure of gold/silver is Uttar Pradesh (Rs 68.69 crore).

A TIMELINE OF MAJOR SEIZURE RELATED NEWS:

April 16: The Election Commission of India decided to cancel the election for Vellore in Tamil Nadu, after a major haul of cash (nearly Rs 12 crore) was seized from the house of a DMK leader's aide. The Election Commission had submitted its recommendations to the President, who in turn has approved the Commission's decision to postpone election in Vellore, which was scheduled to go to polls on April 18.

 

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