I woke up after a nap at 3pm yesterday and I saw my grandma having three sarees and a dhoti with her. Asking her about that, she said that three persons gave those to her and conveyed that they would meet my parents afternoon. Puzzled what had happened, I unfolded the dhoti and saw a black-white-red border in it. Recognizing the border, I was appalled by the fact that we were bribed for votes by the AIADMK's members. They wisely used the list of voters in each house to reckon the number of persons eligible for vote present in the family and their respective genders. Those three saris are for my mother, grand mother and sister and the dhoti is for my father!!
This is a perfect execution of corruption done with a meticulous planning. Sad that such a kind of planning is missing in the execution of various activities and schemes of national importance. The DMK member's laissez-faire atrocities in Thirumangalam by-election 2008-09 conjured up to my mind. The ruling party has the upper hand in the by-election, not only in having majority of votes after the election but also in doing malpractices to woo voters before it. In other words, even though the ruling party is sure of winning the by-election (as happened in previous by-elections) they sincerely perform this stealthy electoral mission of buying votes. These events mark the harbinger of by-election in Pudukkottai that is to be held on June 12th due to the demise of former MLA Muthukumaran.
I am fascinated when I know about the well-structured framework and the activities of the party members which are done a month or two before the election. Usually, houses are bought or hired in different areas of every city, town and village which are exclusively used by the party members for their sojourn in constituencies. These representatives, sent by the party head to look after the elections, are usually representatives elected by the people i.e., MLAs, Ministers, Mayors etc... They feel more dignified to be the former than the latter. The houses get whitewashed, cleaned, air-conditioned and become immaculate before their arrival.
Then the emissaries bestow people by giving some thousand rupees to assist and support them all through their rallies. Besides the money, they are catered freely for that month.Thanks to the Election Commission's order, feasts in Mahals are banned. The by-election tornado even generates electricity to the particular constituency. Power cut abstained Pudukkottai two months before the election. People rushed to buy the freebies which were given hastily within two days just before the announcement of election date. But after the announcement date freebies such as dhotis, saris etc. are delivered to the people at the doorstep!!
The rallies cause immense traffic jam in towns such as Pudukkottai where the roads are usually narrow. The loudspeakers they use in such rallies sing songs and make rhetoric speeches in a sound that exceeds the limit prescribed by the commission. One can see a sudden outburst of luxury white cars and white clothed persons all around the streets where the rally is conducted. The armed soldiers of the para-military forces who accompany them are perplexed about their purpose. Whether to safeguard the politicians or the people?
These party members become great philanthropists during the time of elections. They are ready to give any amount of money requested by the people for any temple, small associations etc.., in hot cash, if they are assured of getting their votes. Rupee notes are brought in somehow despite stringent restrictions placed by the Election Commission to carry amount exceeding 2.5 lacs without proper documents.
Though these acts of seducing people with the lure of money are done in all elections stealthily, they are done blatantly in by-elections. Election Commission finds it difficult to control the flow of money and materials during by-elections as the restrictions imposed are confined to the particular constituency.
The bouts of these atrocities make people to oppose the idea of by-election. Though well addressed as "the representative of the people", an MLA or MP represents a political party in a particular constituency. Many people even do not know the name of the candidate they are going to vote. They vote on looking at the symbol of the party (or) its affiliated party. In other words, we are electing parties, not individuals. So, when a representative of a party in a constituency died (or) resigned (or) disqualified, the party can make a simple replacement.
So by-elections are needed, after the death (or) resignation (or) disqualification of an MLA (or) MP, only in two circumstances :
i)If the MLA/MP was an independent candidate.(here, the people would have voted looking at the individual, for his/her personality, talent, caliber etc..,)
ii)If an affiliated party (parties) had withdrawn its(their) support from the main party and may or may not join another party during the term of the Government.
If we find an alternative to by-elections, we can not only stop the money game played by politicians, but we can also curb the expenses met by the Government for the sake of election which could be turned for the development of that constituency. Today the Honorable Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu Ms.J.Jayalalitha comes here to do her campaign. Many main roads of Pudukkottai turned into parking areas for Innovas, Xylos and Scorpios.Commutation becomes very difficult. The pity policemen,since yesterday night, stand all along the route in which the CM is going to traverse . Ape vans rush towards the spot carrying herds of people. Money plays its part here. Again, it is the poor who are targeted and exploited by the local politicians to show their strength before the CM.
Nearly hundred cases are registered so far and two to four people are arrested daily.But they are not the real persons to be arrested.We still do not know what to do with those clothes given to us. It is difficult to instigate a protest as many people even started wearing the clothes. They argue that it is their money that the politicians plunder and now they are getting their dividend. How to handle this issue? Suggestions are welcome.