FORMER CHIEF ELECTION Commissioner T.S. Krishnamurthy has said that the upcoming elections to the Lok Sabha will be marked by money power, violence and hatred’.
He is quoted in the media as saying that “every conceivable complication will take place because of the way the political parties are fighting. This, he said, makes the implementation of the model code of conduct as big challenge to the Election Commission.
Today a friend sent me a message (in Kannada) which says: Price of a buffalo – Rs,80,000, Bull – Rs 50,000, Goat – Rs,10,000, Dog of a good breed – Rs 5000 to 6000 and Pig – Rs. 3000 to 5000. The price of a man who sells himself (his vote) is only Rs.500 to 1000, the post adds.
Earlier there was a story about a politician who offered Rs.500 for a vote to a man who said he would, instead, have a donkey. The politician went searching for a donkey and found that the minimum price demanded was Rs.2000. So he went back to the voter and said he could not get a donkey cheap; instead, he offered to pay Rs.1000 for the vote.
“So, I cost less than a donkey?” the voter asked.
Yes, the donkeys who vote for other donkeys for money, under threats of musclemen, because the candidate belongs to his/her caste or religion definitely are very cheap, We get donkeys or puppies to rule us. And even then there is donkey trading which the media calls “horse” trading and anyone who buys the largest number of donkeys becomes the ruler.
In a “progressive” state of India, the Chief Ministership went to the party which secured the LEAST number of seats and the party which secured the highest number (though a little short of a majority) sits in the Opposition.
India, it must be admitted proudly, has a democracy – unlike most of the newly independent and most Muslim countries. But almost 72 years of independence has not helped us evolve a healthy political culture in which voting is done on programmes and policies, NOT caste or religion, money, muscle power and vote-bank politics of sheepish voting to whoever the ‘mukhia’ (chieftain) asks you to vote.
And the party which ruled the longest, the Indian National Congress, has to bear a large portion of the blame for this. The Bharatiya Janata Party, which once boasted of being a party with a difference, a party of principles, seems to have fallen in line with the dynasty-ruled Congress and seems to value electoral victories more than principles. The party whose leader, the late Atal Bihari Vajpayee once showed a bipartisan attitude and described his rival, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi as ‘Durga” for the courage shown in liberating Bangladesh, is now accused of taking credit for action against Pakistan for terrorism and even of ‘faking’ the Pulwama terrorist attack killing 44 of its Jawans, for electoral gains.
Bipartisanism has lost the poll to “electoral compulsions.” Perhaps we deserve only to be ruled by a dynasty or its puppies.