news Wednesday, February 11, 2015 - 05:30
The News Minute | February 11, 2015 | 03.20 pm IST Allegations of bribery are a casual characteristic in quite a few elections as seen in Tamil Nadu's history Proving exactly this is a survey conducted in Srirangam constituency released by ‘People Studies’ which found that 86 percent of the people who were surveyed admitted that they would accept a bribe if offered. Conducted on a sample size of 1925 people in the 18-60 range, 60 percent agreed that taking money for votes was unethical , however 78 per cent felt that if bribes were given to them voluntarily, why not take it, reported The Hindu After allegations of poll violations and cash distribution made by both Dravidian parties, the Election Commission ordered the transfer of its Returning Officer and Srirangam's Assistant Commissioner of Police ahead of the highly contested by-polls. While the AIADMK was accused of distributing RS. 2000 to each of its voters, AIADMK in turn was was accused of distributing gifts like saris, dhotis , liquor apart from cash. A practice known to all and sundry in the state, allegations of bribery during elections have been rampant from as far back as 2009 - a strategy that Wikileaks exposed as to how many South Indian politicians used unfair means of influencing voters during elections. Along with the DMK, AIADMK, it also named other biggies like Karthi Chidamabaram of the Congress and Asaduddin Owaisi of the MIM who allegedly confessed to how they made payments to voters during elections. The ‘Thirumangalam model’ in 2009 gave the already existing, cash-for-votes strategy a new, successful twist . The by-elections which were swept by the DMK was a trendsetter where not only did it give exorbitant amounts in cash to each voter in the constituency , it also distributed cash in such a way that people could not refuse it. Voters woke up one morning to find newspapers stuffed with envelopes containing money - a strategy that forced everyone to accept the bribe. While the party in power has changed after every five-year term, the parties themselves have left no stone unturned in reaching out to the masses. Doling out freebies to keep their people happy, election times demand more than just that in exchange for some support. The ones who have been completely affected in the end remain the people, now quite accustomed to receiving that little extra benefit from either the ruling government and the opposition. Along with the usual list of freebies Tamilians are familiar with, election-time doles have become a mandatory bonus.  Rampant in Tamil Nadu, allegations of bribery during elections have made their presence felt in other states as well. In New Delhi, Kiran Bedi, BJP’s CM candidate was accused of poll violation when she was spotted giving necklaces to women. AAP chief Arvind Kejirwal did not name anyone but alleged that a certain party had distributed liquor and money to people. Bedi, on the other hand was quoted as saying that AAP had been buying voters for Rs. 300, according to NDTV. The Election Commission deems both the giver and receiver of election bribes guilty. Its high time those at the receiving end are made responsible for their actions before it all needs to win a vote is a grinder and an envelope stuffed with cash. Tweet Follow @thenewsminute
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