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  1. 1. TO REDUCE THE INFLUENCE OF MONEY AND MUSCULAR POWER IN POLITICS The terms muscle power and money power have unfortunately become synonymous with Indian elections. The targets for the power hungry Indian politicians are the simple minded and poor citizens living below poverty line, who are vulnerable to the temptations of easy money and vague promises due to their desperate economic and social conditions. Such poor citizens are cajoled with bribing for votes and are also threatened with muscle power which is nothing but a byproduct of money power. Considering the prevalence of the twin evils of money power and muscle power, the results of the Indian elections cannot be considered as genuine mandate of the people. The evil practices start even at elections to the students unions in colleges and universities and gain full scale at the panchayat , municipal, state and national level. Today, the money and muscle power play such a dominant role in elections, that there is little chance for a common man with honest intentions and little resources to contest elections , even if he has the capability. The political parties are responsible for this situation, since they only consider the “winnability” (money power & muscle power) of the person for nominating him as
  2. 2. the party candidate. Therefore, the political parties in India should be held totally responsible for denying the citizens good candidate to choose and thus killing the spirit of electoral democracy. The Election Commission can play a positive role but it has its own limitations, since it depends upon the government machinery to conduct elections, which are under the control of many dishonest politicians. The suggestion of Raja ji that the President’s rule should be imposed before the general elections should be accepted and implemented to ensure fair elections, even if it would require an amendment to the constitution. Ensuring that the politicians would not be in power at the time of conducting the general elections would go a long way in conducting fair elections in the country. Raja ji had the wisdom to say this several decades back. But, today, it is unfortunate that the governments do not seem to have the will and sagacity to accept this extremely important suggestion . The Election Commission and State Electoral Officers should be conscious of the fact that they are responsible not only for conducting the elections in a fair manner but also should ensure that right climate prevails in the country for conducting the elections. In spite of the present disgusting political scenario in India created by politicians at various levels and the prevalence of corruption amongst the government machinery, the Election Commission should strive to assume a bigger role and responsibility for itself, rather than considering itself as a mere machinery for conducting the elections. People have such expectation from Election Commission and it should
  3. 3. rise up to the occasion and meet the expectations of the people. Give security to Election Commissioners / Electoral Officers Those holding positions of Election Commissioners and Electoral Officers should be protected from threats from the politicians at the time of elections or later, by being given personal security by the government till they attain the age of 70, if they so desire. Lack of skill-based, quality education plaguing country India might have supplied skilled workforce globally, but lack of skill-based and quality education is one of the major problems plaguing the Indian education system today, said experts at the Education Times Division on Friday. At least 25% of the engineers graduating every year remain unemployable, pointed out many experts present at the seminar, which was organized by the Institute of Management Technology to mark the 13th anniversary of Education Times. Dr Nalin Jena, senior education specialist at the World Bank, shared figures that showed India's economic growth has been "job-poor". According to the data, from 1983 to 2004, the GDP growth rate averaged 6% per year."But the job growth was only 2%, that too mostly in the service and unorganized sectors and in micro, small and medium enterprises," said Jena. Dr Arun Mohan Sherry, director & chairman of the joint admission committee at the IMT-Centre for Distance Learning, echoed Jena's views. "India ranks
  4. 4. third in the output of graduates after the US and China but in terms of quality, we still lag behind." The seminar brought together experts from across the education sector, which deliberated on diversifying the learning needs for the next generation and providing them with skills to make them industry-ready. Skill-based and quality education is also essential to improve the gross enrolment ratio (GER) of the youth, most of them pointed out. "Unless formal education is linked with skill development, the relevance of the subject will not be understood. There is an urgent need to focus on skill development in higher education," said Rajshekharan Pillai, vice-chancellor of Ignou. There was enthusiastic participation from students present at the seminar. The experts also dwelt on the extent of use of technology in modern-day education In India the majority are poor. Politicians are controlling them by bribes and if that does not work, by threaten us. For corrupt politicians, money is not a problem. They are able to grab land, indulge in extortion and run any illegal business with the help of dishonest officials and criminals. With more money, they grow more powerful and vicious. Thus, their atrocities spiral and they make a mockery of democratic institutions, including elections.
  5. 5. TAKE THE EXAMPLE Let us take Tamil Nadu. Elections have been scheduled on April 13, 2011. The Times of India has reported that cash to the tune of Rs.5.11crore kept in bags on the roof a private bus has been recovered in the city of Tiruchirappalli. This is not a one-off case. An amount of Rs. 25crore in unaccounted money has been recovered in the last few days. DURGA SHAKTI NAGPAL CASE We must ensure that the officer is not unfairly treated,” she told the Prime Minister. Nagpal had shot into limelight by acting against the powerful sand mafia in the state. A 2010 batch IAS officer, 28-year-old Nagpal was suspended on 27 July as Sub-Divisional Magistrate of Gautam Budh Nagar district, for allegedly ordering demolition of a wall of a mosque on the ground that it could have triggered communal tension. Political parties are meant to be driven by conviction in a democracy. That is all history now. All Indian political parties are now led by convenience.
  6. 6. The emphasis is on buying votes rather than winning hearts. In a nation where illiteracy is over 35 per cent, and over 30 per cent of the population lives below the poverty line, leaders are indulging in competitive politics—not to make life better or to remove unemployment, but by offering electronic toys to people, who hardly get electricity for more than four hours a day. In a country where most schools and households are without basic amenities like toilets and water, voters are promised fancy laptops, computers, electronic gadgets, color TVs and mixer-grinders. Instead of improving their purchasing power, the political leadership is determined to fill the order books of companies. Parties have devised an innovative mechanism to collect money from the poor—impose taxes and inflate government expenditure first, and then return the money in the form of attractive goodies instead of productive goods. Money and material have become much better rewarding tools than missions with a vision. The Congress party’s election manifesto for Himachal Pradesh, which was released last week, guaranteed more freebies than freedom from corruption and poverty. It assured voters of better governance than the ruling BJP, though. While releasing the party’s road map for the tiny state, the Union Minister of Commerce, Industry and Textiles, Anand Sharma, spent more time promising doles than development. Being a hardcore Rajiv Gandhi loyalist, Sharma couldn’t think of a better name for a freebie scheme than one named after his late mentor. Sharma declared that if voted to power, the Congress would launch the Rajiv Gandhi Digital Student Yojana, under which 10,000 students who perform exceptionally well in the board examinations of Class X and XII will be given free laptops. He also promised laptops to students who
  7. 7. secure a first class in Class VIII. If that wasn’t enough, he made another commitment—all school- and college-going children would get free passes to attend classes. National parties like the BJP and the Congress are expected to set the tone and agenda for regional parties by outlining the big picture and their vision for development. But now, the regional satraps and their narrow view of governance lead the national parties. For the past 10 years, most regional parties have won elections only by promising freebies. For example, in 2006, the DMK played a trump card by vowing to give free color TVs to each family, if voted to power. Over 40 per cent of families live below the poverty line in Tamil Nadu. The DMK won by a massive majority and TV manufacturers minted money; some of them survived the slump, thanks to massive orders for color TVs from the state government. But the DMK government never thought of providing power or cable connections to the TV viewers. Not to be left behind, in 2011, the AIADMK promised grinders or mixers to all families, and it won at the hustings . The art of winning elections through gifts, and not performance, travelled fast to the north. More recently, the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Akali Dal took a leaf out of the Dravidian model. The SP even went a step further. Without bothering to work out the costs of its munificence—before the Uttar Pradesh polls—SP announced free tablets to all students who passed Class X and laptops to all those who passed Class XII. It also promised an unemployment allowance to anyone above 35 years of age.
  8. 8. The Akali Dal’s freebies were even more attractive—laptops with data cards to all Class XII students and free education up to graduation level to all girls, and free bicycles to girls studying in Class IX and X. Take another example In 2005, Lalu Prasad Yadav had made an attempt to defeat his arch rival Nitish Kumar by announcing that his government would deposit `10,000 in the bank account of every girl belonging to a BPL family as against `2,000 promised by Nitish. But Lalu lost because Nitish’s bouquet of freebies was a better model of social engineering. The growing tendency to resort to populism and profligacy at the cost of better governance has already demolished well-defined models of holistic economic development. The Congress which didn’t raise an eyelid while raising diesel prices and limiting the number of LPG gas cylinders to just six a year is now leading the pack with the worst kind of allurements to retain its fast-eroding electoral base. On one hand, the Prime Minister and various Congress leaders are pleading for harsh measures to contain the deficit. On the other, its local leaders are devising newer ways to empty the government’s coffers. Even most BJP chief ministers are offering schemes to hand out cash to voters than job opportunities. For the ruling political establishment, it makes good economics and better politics to make both the corporate and the poor dependent on the state for survival. Elections won by using state money and not a development mission pose a greater threat to Indian democracy than the caste.
  9. 9. Politicians admit to breaking election law: ‘yes, that's the great thing about democracy'. Take an example Politicians and their aides in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh admitted to violating election law to influence voters in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls through payments in the form of cash, goods, or services, according to a revealing cable sent to the State Department by Frederick J. Kaplan, Acting Principal Officer of the U.S. Consulate-General in Chennai. In conversations with a visiting consulate team, Karti Chidambaram of the Congress, M. Patturajan, confidant of Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers M.K. Alagiri and former Mayor of Madurai, and Member of Parliament Assaduddin Owaisi of the Majlis-e-Ittenhadul Muslimeen spoke without inhibition about how they, their principals, or their parties made payments to voters during the election campaign. In a cable sent on May 13, 2009 (206688: confidential), accessed by The Hindu through Wikileaks . Mr. Kaplan detailed the role and impact of money power in corrupting the electoral process, drawing from information gathered from a variety of sources in the field:
  10. 10. “Bribes from political parties to voters, in the form of cash, goods, or services, are a regular feature of elections in South India. Poor voters expect bribes from political candidates, and candidates find various ways to satisfy voter expectations. From paying to dig a community well to slipping cash into an envelope delivered inside the morning newspaper, politicians and their operatives admitted to violating election rules to influence voters. The money to pay the bribes comes from the proceeds of fund-raising, which often crosses into political corruption. Although the precise impact of bribery on voter behavior is hard to measure, it no doubt swings at least some elections, especially the close races.” Wherever Mr. Kaplan and his colleagues went, “journalists, politicians, and voters spoke of the bribes as a commonly accepted fact of the election process.” For example During visits to slums in Chennai and Hyderabad, they “learned that poor urban voters expect political parties to pay come election time.” They were told by a DMK political strategist that “slums are critical to a campaign because their population density and poverty allows them to be more ‘easily mobilized' by bribes.” Representatives of a non-governmental organization working in a Chennai slum said that “the two main political parties in Tamil Nadu – the DMK and the AIADMK – regularly bribe voters.”
  11. 11. They described a “sophisticated operation” to distribute cash. “Weeks before the elections agents of the parties come to the neighborhood with cash carried in rice sacks. They have copies of the voter lists and they distribute the money based on who is on the list.” The agents come in the middle of the night, “between two and four in the morning, when the Election Commission is asleep.” Plea in SC seeks review of ruling on tainted netas A Haryana leader on Saturday moved the Supreme Court seeking review of its judgment banning arrested politicians from contesting elections, a decision that had riled and united all political parties. Haryana Swatantra Party's Ramesh Dalal in his review petition said, "All common citizen of India including the applicant are against criminalization of politics and are in favour to prevent the criminals from entering into a House but it does not mean that a common citizen, only on account of his police custody arising out of a false case based on nefarious design of the other party, may be stopped from entering into a House in pursuance to the impugned order." This is all due to the muscular power of the ruling parties.
  12. 12. Huge fund outlay for Food Security Bill to hit fiscal deficit, feels India Inc The ambitious food security programme will give the country's two-thirds population the right to five kg foodgrains every month at between Re 1 to Rs 3 per kg. The UPA government may be a step closer to offer subsidised foodgrain to the poor after the Food Security Bill was passed by the Lok Sabh on Monday, but India Inc feels the massive outlay of funds required for rolling out the programme is bound to raise the fiscal deficit. Why this food bill is introduced just before the election its nothing but just a way to draw attention of the poor people for votes . If this is not so then why this bill is not introduced earlier.