Skip to main content

Time to save election expenditure? Needed: Honest, educated, efficient political 'anti-hero'

By Sudhansu R Das 

Political parties in India spend massive expenditures during election campaigns. The 2019 Lok Sabha election was the world’s most expensive election; a report by the Centre for Media Studies shows a huge amount of $8 billion was spent to conduct the 2019 Lok Sabha election. An authentic documentation of the election expenditure since independence is not available; every Indian deserves to know the expenditure incurred by political parties during election since independence.
Right from the Panchayat election to the Parliament election, political parties depend on money power to influence voters. According to some politicians, for an MP election the expenditure varies from an average Rs 6 crore to 20 crore depending on the size of the constituency. It shoots up many times in some constituencies also. Massive rallies, road shows, processions etc. are organized by political parties to influence voters. How to limit the election expenditure to build a healthy democracy is the biggest challenge before the country?
For a simple councilor election in Pune, political parties give dinner to slum dwellers for nearly a month, distribute sarees, household goods and take the slum dwellers to picnic spots. Liquor and cash are distributed just before the election in most of the constituencies; it is a normal scene across the country. Responsible, honest and desh-bhakt political leaders must stop this rot to spread; they should give election tickets to brave, honest and educated candidates right from Panchayat election to the MP election.
Gone are the days when committed workers of political parties made door to door election campaigns; they did it out of love and respect for their leaders and party ideologies. Over the years the dedicated volunteer breed has disappeared with the dissolve of the party ideologies; the compromising attitude of the party leaders to remain in power has disillusioned the cadres. Besides, the political leadership’s inability to inspire young cadres with personal examples has de-motivated the cadres.
Today the present kind of political workers are hired for money; many of those workers are seen working for multiple parties. Even voters of vote banks bargain with political parties for extending support. Though dedicated cadres can reduce the election expenditure; it will take a long time for the national parties to bring them to party folds.
Political parties find it difficult to get absolute majority on their own and they tie up with other parties with different ideologies and principles. Managing the magic number to rule has become a very expensive affair. Political parties resort to turn coat politics and spend huge sums to get the majority. Unless the political parties groom their own cadres and sustain cadres’ interest with honest leadership, the general public will continue to suffer; the huge donation collected from different donors has to be returned with dividends by the public in the form of taxes.
Today water bodies and fertile agricultural land disappear very fast; groundwater becomes dry, bio-diversity declines and the basic human needs are accessible with high price. Good political leaders should curb election expenditure and set examples of winning elections with real development work. Though money and muscles continue to play an important role in winning elections, there are instances of honest independent candidates winning elections.
The present political environment which has become dirty with money, power and compromises with ideologies and principles, opens up new opportunities for honest people; it is the right time for them to plunge into the political water. Dedicated political cadres instead of lamenting over the situation should fight elections independently. If they don’t want to fight elections, they should support honest and educated candidates in the election campaign.
Smooth conduct of the election is not the only role for the election commissioner; it should develop a state of the art mechanism to inspect each account of the political parties and make democratic elections free, fair and transparent. The country should pass a strong law to minimize the election expenditure to create inclusive opportunities for honest and educated people to fight elections. Political parties should use electronic media for campaign and avoid expensive mega rallies and road shows which also cause huge man hour loss to the country.
The country should wake up to save the massive election expenditure and use the money for the development of the country’s core strengths: schools, good teachers, research and innovation, health centers, healthy water bodies, bio-diversity, vibrant domestic market and export. One thing the national political parties should remember is that India has to live among very hostile neighbors like Pakistan, China and Afghanistan.
There is growing influence of China over our neighbors like Nepal, Sri Lanka and other small South Asian nations. This situation demands for honest, educated and efficient candidates with moral courage to play the role of a political anti-hero.

Comments

TRENDING

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Did Netaji turn blind eye to Japanese massacre while in Andaman during World War-II?

Dr Diwan Singh Kalepani museum off Chandigarh By Rajiv Shah  Did Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose ignore the massacre carried out by the Japanese army in Andaman and Nicobar islands during the Second World War? It would seem so, if one goes by the account of Mohinder Singh Dhillon, who authored a book in memory of his father, 'A Titan in the Andamans, Dr Diwan Singh Kalepani'. Dr Diwan Singh was tortured to death by the Japanese soldiers in the cellular jail in Andaman in 1944.

A golden goose, GoI bent on selling LIC 'for pittance' without consulting stakeholders

By Thomas Franco*  In spite of strong opposition from all sections of the society, the Finance Minister (FM) recently asked her Ministries to speed up Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) Initial Public Offer (IPO). Does she realise that this can lead to collapse of the economy over a period of time because LIC is a golden goose which is giving golden eggs regularly to the economy, development projects and providing social security to the majority of the marginalised people of this country.

Sweden-backed study: India won't achieve 2030 UN goals, officials can't recognise SDG

By Rajiv Shah  A Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC)-sponsored study, carried out by the advocacy group Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS) India, seeking to analyse the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) No 12, Responsible Consumption and Production (RCP), has regretted, it is "very unlikely" India will achieve any of the targets of SDG 12 by 2030 "unless some serious measures are taken by the government to reverse the present trend."

Modi's Gujarat 'ignores' India's biggest donor of Azad Hind Fauj, Dhoraji's Habib Sheth

By Dr Hari Desai* One surely feels happy that the statue of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose is being installed near the India Gate in New Delhi. Every Indian and even Netaji’s 79-year-old daughter Prof Anita Bose Pfaff feels happy about the statue at the most important area of the capital. In an interview with an Indian TV, Anita, who is a German citizen, mentions that she thinks if not Netaji’s only Mahatma Gandhi’s statue should have been there. She may be aware that there existed a plan to install life-sized statue of the Father of the Nation at that place.  Even after differences with Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel which led Netaji to leave the Indian National Congress, Bose was the first person to call Mahtma Gandhi Father of the Nation on July 6,1944 in his Ragoon Radio broadcast, and sought Bapu’s blessings as the Supreme Commander of the Indian National Army (INA). Till 1968 there was statue of King George V at India Gate. It was removed and placed in the Coronation Park, New Del

Savarkar 'opposed' Bhagat Singh's, Netaji's dream of India, supported British war efforts

By Shamsul Islam* In a shocking development, the student wing of the RSS put the busts of martyrs Bhagat Singh and Subhash Chandra Bose with Savarkar's on one pedestal at the University of Delhi late in the night on August 20, 2019. Bhagat Singh sacrificed his life for a socialist-democratic-secular republic and Netaji raised Azad Hind Fauj (INA) consisting of people of all religions and regions for armed liberation of India.

Why Church in India today needs a Rutilio Grande, martyred for stance on social justice

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*  For the people of El Salvador, January 22, 2022 will be more than just a red-letter day. Three of their sons, Jesuit Fr Rutilio Grande and his two lay associates 72-year-old Manuel Solorzano and 15-year-old Nelson Rutilio Lemus (and Italian Franciscan missionary Fr Cosme Spessotto who was also martyred) will be beatified in San Salvador.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

'Dargah site was a temple': Claim in Gujarat following post-Babri verdict demands in UP

By Rajiv Shah  Will Gujarat also see demands to replace mosques and dargahs with Hindu temples? It would seem so, if a new fact-finding team conclusion is any indication. Apprehending the “danger” of communal conflagration, it has cited the claim on a 15th century dargah was originally a Hindu temple – allegedly quite on line with what has been happening in UP following the Supreme Court verdict on Babri Mosque.

Is it time to celebrate India's 'improved' sex ratio? Reasons to question NFHS data

By Aditi Chaudhary*  The recently published National Family Health Survey (NFHS) factsheet brought cheers amongst the public and the government. With Child Sex ratio (number of females per 1000 males in the age group 0 - 6 years) and overall sex ratio (the total number of females per 1000 males), both showing an improvement, NFHS-5 (2019-21) got applauded by all around.