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CASHOCRACY – UGLY REALITY OF OUR DEMOCRACY – The Hans India

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The Huzurabad bypoll has thrown a new challenge to the Election Commission. It is an open secret that the elections were fought on the basis of money power rather than any other issue. Money being distributed even as polling was on was recorded and aired on news channels as well as social media. We had also seen people protesting for not getting note-for-vote.
Officials too said that they had also seen what was happening in print, electronic and social media. They assured that they would act on poll code violations – after inquiry at field level. Let us hope once the result is declared, the whole issue does not end, saying all is well that ends well. The scenes that were witnessed in different parts of Huzurabad constituency have once again clearly brought to fore the naked fact that it is money and only money on which the political parties are depending to win the elections. What used to be a hush hush affair on a low key in the past has now become open distribution even while polling was in progress. It is estimated that about Rs 250-300 crore might have changed hands.
But then, this bypoll, though fought more on the strength of note-for-vote has thrown up one positive sign and that is the voters questioning the leaders about the criteria for seeking votes. Is it the money they are paying, or the work done by the candidate or the party? The people of the constituency succeeded where the opposition parties failed. The political parties have been accusing one another of buying votes while there is no exception. But the people had the courage to ask the leaders of different parties as to why they were siphoning off the money their party top leadership had asked them to distribute per person.
Neither the parties were afraid of any rules nor were the people shy of accepting it. Like in any other deal or business in our country, corruption creeped into the electioneering process. Election observers, CCTV cameras, police deployment, elaborate gu­idelines by EC, under which the entire administration functions when the poll code is in force, could not stop converting democracy into ‘Cashocracy.’ It is high time all the political parties stopped making tall claims of their achievements and came up with different kinds of promises and freebies. Instead, they should go to the people quoting the amount they would pay and let the votes be put to auction. This would also make the job of pollsters easy. It would save a lot of money on campaign.
As far as TS is concerned, maybe, it is time the government thinks of withdrawing the note-for-vote case from the court. If the money that flowed so openly is acceptable, then it should be treated as a common practice in all elections. All political parties at national level need to have a serious introspection. They need to change the mindset of people from note-for-vote to the performance of the ruling parties. If this does not happen, a stage will come when it would be impossible for any candidate or party to meet the growing expectations of voters and would push the country into a state of chaos.

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