oppn parties New Mantra: Bribing Voters For Not Voting

News Snippets

  • Mediators tell the protestors in Shaheen Bagh that the Supreme Court will listen to them more keenly if they remove the roadblock and move to an alternate site
  • No headway by mediators in the Shaheen Bagh imbroglio. Protestors say adjoining roads are running fine.
  • After China objects to Home Minister Amit Shah's Arunachal visit, India says China has no business to comment on the issue as the state is an integral part of India
  • The OBC "creamy layer" to be changed by including salary as part of the income that will decide the threshold. This will lead to many more getting left out
  • RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat says the word "nationalism" should not be used now as it has acquired negative connotations
  • UP Sunni Central Wakf Board accepts the 5-acre plot given by the government to rebuild the Babri masjid as per the terms of the Supreme Court order
  • Two dalits thrashed and abused in Rajasthan's Nagaur. Police arrest 7 persons
  • Supreme Court rejects curative petition in the Uphaar cinema fire case in Delhi and says there will be no further jail terms for the owners, the Ansal brothers
  • Government data placed in Parliament shows a sharp decline in job creation under its flagship employment generation schemes
  • The government is working to amend the Aadhar Act to make it possible for the Aadhar to be linked with the Voter's ID. Election Commission will simultaneously be empowered to link the two
  • Tapas Pal, former TMC MP, dies of cardiac arrest in Mumbai. He was questioned for his alleged involvement in the Rose Valley scam and gained notoriety for his rape remark in 2014.
  • Bypoll to panchayats in J&K, scheduled for March in eight phases, postponed due to security concerns.
  • Supreme Court says that overhead power transmission lines going through the Desert National Park in Jaisalmer in Rajasthan must go underground to save the Great Indian Bustard and the Lesser Florican
  • Pakistan not placed in FAFT blacklist but kept on the grey list with warning
  • The government is expected to announce duty cuts and other measures to combat business disruption due to coronavirus outbreak in China
Former principal secretary to PM Modi, Nripendra Mishra, appointed to head the temple committee of the Ram Janambhoomi Teertha Kshetra Trust
oppn parties
New Mantra: Bribing Voters For Not Voting

By Linus Garg
First publised on 2018-05-10 21:14:35

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Linus tackles things head-on. He takes sides in his analysis and it fits excellently with our editorial policy. No 'maybe's' and 'allegedly' for him, only things in black and white.
Trust politicians and political managers to come up new and unique ways of trying to win elections, even if they border on the illegal. First, the ruling Trinamool Congress came up with a ‘novel’ way of capturing panchayats in West Bengal by unleashing its goons on the opposition parties to prevent its candidates from filing nominations. Bengalis are football lovers. There is a saying in Bengali: fanka mathey goal (meaning scoring a goal in an empty field). The TMC wanted to score goals by eliminating the opposing team(s) altogether.

Then, it has now been reported that parties are ‘buying’ voters in Karnataka – but with a difference. Usually, parties bribe voters to cast their votes in their favour. But in Karnataka, parties are paying voters to refrain from voting. In other words, voters are being asked to stay put at home on voting day and enjoy the pint of whiskey that is being given along with the money. A few Muslim voters have alleged that the BJP has approached them in this fashion. There is no law in India which says that a person has to compulsorily cast his vote. There is also no way for the Election Commission to know if the person has been bribed to refrain from voting. Since voters in particular localities will be targeted, the workers of the party can easily keep tabs on whether the bribed voters go to the booths and can even intimidate them into not going on strength of their ‘agreement’. It seems a foolproof way of winning elections by eliminating votes from persons inimical to the party’s ideology. It used to happen by force in the heydays of the Left Front in West Bengal when jeep-borne and gun-toting goons used to cordon off multi-storied apartments and posh localities to intimidate voters unlikely to vote for the Communists. But it is happening for the first time in Karnataka by bribing and in an organized manner.

It is a sad reflection of the times that ideology, performance or personalities no longer count or even if they do, are not enough to win votes. Parties have to indulge in all kinds of underhand – hence illegal – activities that are driven by money and muscle power. There is an urgent need to reform electoral laws to reduce the unholy nexus of money and muscle with the election process.