How winning Karnataka polls is great for MLAs' wealth
A look at the candidates contesting the Karnataka polls indicates that most of them have seen their personal wealth rise drastically since the last time they sought the people's vote.
The Great Indian Election Bazaar is about to get underway in Karnataka. Promises will be made, cash/food/liquor distributed, colossal non-achievements will transmogrify into stellar achievements at public meetings and rallies, odes to democracy will be sung by some perennially blind and horrendously out of tune [with reality] political commentators and We The Sheeple will stroll out to the nearest polling booth on 5th May to participate in this farce most foul.
Some of us will punch the EVM with all the force at our command – in the hope that a violent press of the button might lead to electoral reforms some day. Some others will search for the NOTA option on the EVM and not find it. [Ask for 17A under Rule 49(O) from the polling officer].
A vast multitude will be rounded up, hustled into some vehicles hired for this purpose by democracy hucksters, given some food and money before they go back to their sordid little life of poverty and non-importance once the vote is cast. After all, a majority of the poor exist only to enrich the political establishment - the highest number of ghost workers was found in Karnataka if one goes by the latest CAG report on the institutionalized plunder under NREGA.
Whilst I respect democracy, and would sign up for it over and over again, the particular rotting mutant version that India is saddled with deserves nothing but disdain and immediate reformation. The topic of electoral reforms has been covered ad nauseam in earlier posts, in great detail and supported by enough and more facts, observations, statistics and notes on policy non-initiatives – suffice to say, that while I will participate in these elections, I will do so knowing full well that the final output that will emerge from the business end of the electoral funnel sometime on 8th May, will be worthy of neither respect nor sanctity. There may be exceptions, but then those are just that – exceptions.
So then, who are these politics-is-dhanda politicians in Karnataka who are out to milk the system for personal power and wealth yet again? Is any government agency tracking and/or investigating the rapid rise in wealth of these elected repress-entatives who appear to be unchallenged and untouched by the law of the land?
Almost all the 179 MLAs who are re-contesting, share one thing in common – they are fantastically gifted fund managers when it comes to multiplying their own financial assets. Take a look at the following tables [Source: ADR/NEW Press Release and Reports dated 12 & 23 April, 2013]:
One for the trivia junkies: 65 MLAs including current and ex-Ministers did not ask any questions in the House in the period 2008-2012 – 49[BJP], 11[INC] and 5[Ind].
On a serious note, a few months ago I had noted elsewhere the correlation between a candidate’s personal wealth and his/her chances of winning an election. I am reproducing the table below, to drive home the point that elections are more about personal wealth and winnability than about representation of the citizenry in assorted temples of democracy:
Ten quid says, on 8th May 2013, when someone attempts a similar analysis for Karnataka, the results and findings will follow a trend-line that mirrors the one depicted above.
India. A commodity. To be sold to the highest bidder. Because politics is just a dhanda. Cut it this way, slice it that way, wrap it in a cellophane and walk away with your portion Sir. 15% commission, 100% omission, the electorate gave us permission. You don’t like my rhyme much, do you Sir? I don’t like your reason either.
So for no rhyme or reason, let us continue calling it the world’s greatest democracy, shall we?
A detailed follow-up piece is in the pipeline, and I will post it within a week – it will cover areas like criminal charges, educational qualifications [or the lack thereof], record on IT Returns and PAN status of the contestants.
Random Afterthought: The data [courtesy ADR/KEW] that I have put out in this post may not be sufficient to prove that any illegality has been committed – but when one examines the same data set through the lenses of ethics, integrity and common sense, it does leave one panting for some honest enquiry by those who have the power to investigate. Alas, the ones with the power to enquire report to the ones whose pre-election affidavits need to be investigated…..and so we have a case of a pathological state of near perpetual inaction whereby NOTHING is ever proved! Remember Coalgate, CWG, Young Indian, Foodgraingate, NRHMgate, Irrigationgate, Vadragate, Adarshgate, 2G, Armsgate……this gate hither and that gate thither? The buck usually stops - if at all it stops - somewhere on the lowest rungs of the ladder of political power, doesn’t it?
Democracy, ethics, good governance and accountability of the top, ladies and gentlemen, are like those majestic ships which are being repeatedly torpedoed below the waterline by the political class, while we are simultaneously sold dummies on voting in woundingly huge quantities…..but go out and vote we shall!
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