News » The India Cables

Updated: March 16, 2011 15:55 IST

‘Cash for votes a way of political life in South India’

Sarah Hiddleston
Comment (114)   ·   print   ·   T  T  

Politicians admit to breaking election law: ‘yes, that's the great thing about democracy'

Politicians and their aides in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh admitted to violating election law to influence voters in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls through payments in the form of cash, goods, or services, according to a revealing cable sent to the State Department by Frederick J. Kaplan, Acting Principal Officer of the U.S. Consulate-General in Chennai. In conversations with a visiting consulate team, Karti Chidambaram of the Congress, M. Patturajan, confidant of Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers M.K. Alagiri and former Mayor of Madurai, and Member of Parliament Assaduddin Owaisi of the Majlis-e-Ittenhadul Muslimeen spoke without inhibition about how they, their principals, or their parties made payments to voters during the election campaign.

In a cable sent on May 13, 2009 (206688: confidential), accessed by The Hindu through WikiLeaks, Mr. Kaplan detailed the role and impact of money power in corrupting the electoral process, drawing from information gathered from a variety of sources in the field: “Bribes from political parties to voters, in the form of cash, goods, or services, are a regular feature of elections in South India. Poor voters expect bribes from political candidates, and candidates find various ways to satisfy voter expectations. From paying to dig a community well to slipping cash into an envelope delivered inside the morning newspaper, politicians and their operatives admitted to violating election rules to influence voters. The money to pay the bribes comes from the proceeds of fund-raising, which often crosses into political corruption. Although the precise impact of bribery on voter behavior is hard to measure, it no doubt swings at least some elections, especially the close races.”

Wherever Mr. Kaplan and his colleagues went, “journalists, politicians, and voters spoke of the bribes as a commonly accepted fact of the election process.”

For example, during visits to slums in Chennai and Hyderabad, they “learned that poor urban voters expect political parties to pay come election time.” They were told by a DMK political strategist that “slums are critical to a campaign because their population density and poverty allows them to be more ‘easily mobilized' by bribes.” Representatives of a non-governmental organisation working in a Chennai slum said that “the two main political parties in Tamil Nadu – the DMK and the AIADMK – regularly bribe voters.” They described a “sophisticated operation” to distribute cash: “Weeks before the elections agents of the parties come to the neighborhood with cash carried in rice sacks. They have copies of the voter lists and they distribute the money based on who is on the list.” The agents come in the middle of the night, “between two and four in the morning, when the Election Commission is asleep.”

‘Can I get another morning paper?’

In Madurai, “virtually every conversation centred on the parliamentary candidacy of Mr. M.K. Azhagiri,” who according to Mr. Kaplan had “added money” to his “political muscle” and was “using it to a degree previously unseen in Tamil Nadu.” His “confidant” Mr. Patturajan confirmed that cash payments were paid to voters by the DMK to secure the Assembly seat in the January 2009 by-election at Thirumangalam. “It is no secret at all, Azhagiri paid 5,000 rupees per voter in Thirumangalam,” he is quoted as saying in the cable.

In an instructive and entertaining section titled ‘Can I get another morning paper?' Mr. Kaplan explained the modus operandi for cash distribution adopted by the DMK in Thirumangalam: “Rather than using the traditional practice of handing cash to voters in the middle of the night, in Thirumangalam, the DMK distributed money to every person on the voting roll in envelopes inserted in their morning newspapers. In addition to the money, the envelopes contained the DMK ‘voting slip' which instructed the recipient for whom they should vote.” This, Mr. Kaplan noted, “forced everyone to receive the bribe.” Mr. Patturajan , he wrote, “confirmed the newspaper distribution method of handing out money, but questioned its efficiency. He [Patturajan] pointed out that giving bribes every voter wasted money on committed anti-DMK voters, but conceded that it was an effective way to ensure the cash reached every potential persuadable voter”.

S. Kannan, a mid-level Congress party official in Madurai, told consulate staff that “the 5,000 rupees per voter in Thirumangalam changed everything,” noting that previous bribes to voters had topped out at 500 rupees.

The cable reported that Mr. Patturajan expected difficulties in replicating the Thirumangalam model for the 2009 parliamentary election because the relevant Lok Sabha constituency was seven times the size of the Assembly seat. According to the cable: “Azhagiri has been forced to ratchet the payment back down to more typical levels, but he still plans on giving it to every voter through the newspaper distribution method.”

Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram's 2009 Lok Sabha election campaign in Sivaganga was managed by his son. According to the cable, Karti Chidambaram specifically denied paying cash for votes, “but not because of any moral objection to doing so. He does not pay cash for votes in his rural constituency because it is impossible to distribute the money effectively when the villages are spread so far apart.” But “the President of the Tamil Nadu Youth Congress,” who is not named in the cable, told the Chennai Consulate-General team: “Karti is doing a good job in Sivaganga. He is distributing some money to the people, which his father won't do.”

Karti Chidambaram admitted he “does give ‘a few sops' to villages that might be on the fence about supporting his father.” Most villages wanted a donation to the local temple and a community hall, he said. In his cable, Mr. Kaplan summarised Karti's position: “bribes are useful but not necessary to political success…bribes are one factor among many, along with the quality of the candidate, the strength of the party, and the issues. But he cautioned that bribes alone will not prevail.” Anil Ambani, Karti is quoted as saying, “can't win an election just by paying people off. It doesn't work that way.” Candidates needed a strong party apparatus in order to win elections, but “bribes can help put you over the top” in a close race.

“Worthy requests” by constituents were worth considering, mused MIM's Mr. Owaisi in a separate conversation with consulate staff over a late dinner in Hyderabad after a long day campaigning. According to Mr. Kaplan's cable, Mr. Owaisi tried to make a distinction between cash bribes given by rivals and payments to voters by his own party: “One community's leaders asked Owaisi that day to dig them a well. ‘So I sent one of my party men back later in the day,' he explained, ‘to give them 25,000 rupees (approximately 500 USD).' Owaisi emphasized that he does not give cash directly to voters, but rather funds worthy requests: ‘If they want a well, I give them the money, but make sure they use it for the well.' On the same day, he also told us that he had paid 35,000 rupees (700 USD) to pay for the marriage of an orphaned girl. Owaisi contrasted his practice of funding projects for the community's benefit with the Congress and Telugu Desam parties, which Owaisi said pay money to individual voters.”

Surprised by such candid responses, the U.S. Consulate-General officials asked Mr. Owaisi if donations like wells or marriage fees were not illegal. “Of, course,” came the reply, “but that's the great thing about democracy.”

Cash for votes is not specific to south india. It is exposed in public by the defeated poltical opponents to justify the loss. Further, people in other north Indian states are coerced to vote in favour ceratain poltical party, here people cannot be manhandled rather to keep them in good spirit to vote they are bribed. Often, public feel less ashamed to accept as they opine that the looted money of public is returned to them as a token amount. Alos, peole are averse to accept freebies as they are aware that these things are distributed from tax payers money only and not from any political party's accumalted fund.
NREGA has opened one more avenue to loot public fund by the grass root level poltical functionaries. There are so may cases where the amount distributed as per the muster and the poulation village do not match. Government employees are hand in glove with poltical elelements and separate cut in the looted fortune is shared by them.

from:  Nagarajan
Posted on: Nov 1, 2011 at 23:34 IST

The number of Azhagiri Model in Indian Deocracy will go up in times to come. Representative election in which national parties only can participate is the only solution for this. Let a system to vote for the party and its policy come. Let the Party decide the individual members to represent in the Legislative Body. Until electoral reforms to this effect is enacted the menace of money and muscle power from Indian Democracy can not be eradicated. Should democracy in India continue in a healthy manner is the vital question every right thinking citizen should ask him self. Let thousands of Anna Hazares emerge in our mother land against the corrupt election gimmicks.

from:  A. M. NANU
Posted on: Jul 23, 2011 at 20:05 IST

couple of points.: firstly THE HINDU - you guys rock. This is probably the only Indian newspaper which is remotely respectable. keep up the good work, walk proud. 1) the commenting scheme should be changed. allow people to vote on others comments so as to allow top voted comments show up at top, also let people reply to others comments. 2)i loved the NFC idea proposed by Schmitt. get rid of paper money. Employ technology to solve this problem. Great idea but limited realistic potential. Keep the ideas flowing. We as a country need some innovative thinking.

from:  Arun
Posted on: May 25, 2011 at 02:48 IST

If accepting bribe is an offence, offering bribe is an equally serious offence.
I would like to question the Election Commission of India as to what deterrent action they plan to take now against the suspected people from whom about Rs. 60 crores were recovered just a few days before the recently held assembly elections in the selected states.

(50 out of this 60 crores were recovered from Tamilnadu only !)

We badly need one Seshan now for initiating bold and courageous penal actions to enforce the law.

Another comment by another former CEC,Gopalswamy,("You do not allow black money to grow and circulate for four years and nine months and ask ECI to control its usage in the limited three months of its control of administration during the elections")is an attitude of helplessness during the current times when the citizen is furious that all the limits of patience have been crossed.

from:  Akkur Chakrapani
Posted on: May 24, 2011 at 13:17 IST

I am not surprised or shocked at all in fact you should title as India as you forgot Mayavati, Yadav, Laloo. Please send a copy to all political leaders particularly those agitating for separate Telengana and other separatists.Gone are the days of Pandit Nehru and Ironman V.patel who selflessly served country they might have erred but not corrupt.

from:  Ramachander Nanduri
Posted on: May 24, 2011 at 04:02 IST

Can I have my arrears? I have been duped. Equal oppurtunities please.

from:  Kaasu
Posted on: May 24, 2011 at 03:35 IST

When election commission starts implementing the laid down rules of elections some indian politicians say thay they are undemocratic.Day will come soon that people would take the money but would vote for one whom they really wanted to vote rather than who gave cash to that stage this menace will automatcally would come to an end.

from:  sethu
Posted on: May 24, 2011 at 00:47 IST

Cash for votes is not there in the whole SOUTH INDIA, may be only in Tamil Nadu and mey be parts of Andhra, but not in KERALA. or for that matter even in Karnataka. Especially in a state like Kerala,this will NEVER EVER happen. People are more literate even politically also. Even the leaders for that matter whichever party they belong will not do such things.

from:  Sreenivasan S
Posted on: May 23, 2011 at 19:08 IST

This is such an unfortunate scenario for a country to be in. DMK are the ones to be blamed for doing this on such a large scale and that has led to the country having the extremely unqualified Alagiri as a member of the cabinet.
I hope the election commission becomes more strict on this in the future and bring an end to this atrocious practice!

from:  R.Govind
Posted on: May 23, 2011 at 11:50 IST

Indian society was bought up by crude methods of corruption.But there is a sea change in today's generation, they are accepting money from all the political parties and voting to those, whom they are thinking about. This is welcome change.More over politicians falsely claim that poverty should be removed, They are wise that if people become self-reliant and educated ,people wont listen to them.

from:  Ravi Goud Gyarala
Posted on: May 23, 2011 at 10:32 IST

It is regretted to note that none of the TV Channels, Headlines, CNN -IBN or Times have bothered to expose the deliberate open "Cash for vote" acts in Tamil Nadu during the last Lok Sabha elections.

from:  S.R.Neelakantan
Posted on: Mar 23, 2011 at 20:05 IST

Now that it is out that the parties are bribing, will there be any actions taken against them or at least measures to check this activity. Or we just comment our hearts out and life goes on as usual. I guess "That's the great thing about democracy" isnt it?

from:  Sri Harsha
Posted on: Mar 22, 2011 at 10:42 IST

The Hindu should launch editions in Indian languages as then only more and more illeterate people will come to know of these exposes.

from:  Vijay
Posted on: Mar 18, 2011 at 07:28 IST

In USA government does not do everything. They just do education and healthcare. Every thing else is privatized. But govt deliver those 2 with high quality. Remaining all govt is just watch dog, private to deliver with highest quality. Why don't Indian govt do this? Dont use license raj to get bribes. Deliver less but with highest quality.

from:  Venu
Posted on: Mar 18, 2011 at 04:16 IST

Right time these cables are out. At the crucial time when Tamil Nadu is going for voting, people should keep in mind that Alagiri is Karunanidhi's son. It was really surprising that P.Chidambaram won at last as he was trailing all through the counting as i was closely watching the results in the media.His son has done a good job. Good training from his father...lets all remember LIKE FATHER LIKE SON IN BOTH THE CASES..People, awake! Hats off to The Hindu for the greatest job they are doing for the betterment of Indians(excluding politicians as truth is bitter so these would definitely be bitter for them

from:  Priya
Posted on: Mar 17, 2011 at 23:35 IST

A century ago, vote was a privilege of homeowners. But well-informed leaders were elected to steer societies, armies and economies. Today, vote is a right. But our leaders are illiterate, ignorant, bigoted, short-sighted and existential. If one sells his vote for the highest bidder, one should expect the buyer to earn it back in the form of graft. We have no one to blame but ourselves for electing a dynasty again and again for six decades even though they have proved to be wanting in leadership skills.

from:  Mohamed Anwar Sadat
Posted on: Mar 17, 2011 at 23:09 IST

This sort of thing would never happen in Canada or the US ... can you imagine the poor getting money to vote? We have civilized things called lobbies, in which you have to register to be able to bribe - i mean influence - politicians to make rules that suite you. Here, the standard of living does not require bribing of the poor, only the rich. You just have to know how to control the emotions of the voters, that's all.

from:  Moe
Posted on: Mar 17, 2011 at 19:04 IST

Fantastic solution to improve the lives of millions of Indians below poverty. Have elections EVERY YEAR. No Five year terms. Lets all start a movement in favour of this.

from:  Arun
Posted on: Mar 17, 2011 at 13:04 IST

'The Hindu' is the only genuine newspaper in this country. Hats off to N Ram and Team.

from:  Ramveer
Posted on: Mar 17, 2011 at 12:10 IST

Comments posted here are really good to read. What the point writing comments in here? This message has to reach the so called below- poverty line people. Educate everyone to Cast their votes.

from:  Varun
Posted on: Mar 17, 2011 at 08:42 IST

Democracy succeeds only when people are shrewd and unbiased. Besides, patriotism is an important element needed. All these factors are absent among majority of the people which tends to rise up all corrupt practices. People adhere to certain values of life and not to be too emotional. The priority should be welfare of the nation at first then it will set aside all such corrupt practices. O! people of India, particularly Tamilnadu, to come out the shell of blind affinity of Dravidan Culture. Develop broad-mindedness and live peacefully and let others to live peacefully.

from:  R.Krishnamurthy
Posted on: Mar 17, 2011 at 08:04 IST

Need to make accountability on party fund. The funds of most of the political parties increased many folds in the last 2 to 3 years. But political parties like DMK,Congress, SP, Lallu will not allow it to happen and they ensure that status of life of people in slums will not improve so that they can be easily bribed with money made from 2G and other scams.

from:  Srinivasan
Posted on: Mar 17, 2011 at 06:58 IST

With all these gimmicks Karti C could not ensure a decent WIN to his father.

from:  B.Krishnamurthy
Posted on: Mar 17, 2011 at 04:45 IST

Recently, I asked a young man who is not doing anything to run for an elected office. I thought politics is a good profession for those who are not doing anything. His immediate reply is that he needs lot of money to bribe the voters. I told him you can win by hard work going from village to village. He said, that won't work. He needs paid volunteers and that costs money. I told him gather unpaid volunteers who believe in his ideals. He said that won't work because he doesn't have any ideals. 'That is the great thing about democracy.'

from:  K V Rao
Posted on: Mar 17, 2011 at 03:50 IST

Thanks a lot Hindu for bringing out all these facts...I hope that you would also get a list of all the Indians who are operating Swiss bank accounts and publish them in here...Keep doing the good job...

from:  Rajesh
Posted on: Mar 17, 2011 at 01:58 IST

Our politicians are 'redefining democracy' and may be teaching few lessons to American politicians in the process.Corruption breeds corruption.Indian democracy has become a 'mockery of the world'.No wonder our citizens are eager to read early morning 'newspapers'especially during election times.

from:  Raman
Posted on: Mar 17, 2011 at 01:48 IST

This means there has not been democracy in these states at all, perhaps not even in the rest of India if we consider the various means by which it is possible to influence voters. Why, even putting up a candidate in a constituency with a view to make voters from his caste happy is also a way of bribing the voters. The cables have clearly revealed what we have long suspected - Indian democracy has always been a half-baked experiment. I strongly demand that elections to the Tamil Nadu assembly are postponed indefinitely until that time when the Election Commission can claim with confidence that it has overhauled the entire system and the verification ways and means, and preventive measures against such bribes to voters with money power are indeed in place. All three major parties, the DMK, AIADMK, the Congress are all past masters in the art of using money power at their disposal to buy votes. Let there be governor's rule until the Election Commission is ready with a new set of checks and means to prevent the crimes against democracy as claimed in these cables.

from:  Massoud
Posted on: Mar 17, 2011 at 00:31 IST

We approximately have a voter turn out of 60% out of which at least 20% of the votes are cast by some one else by capturing of Booths, which is a open secret here muscle power comes in. But have we ever thought about who these 60% people are?? I am sure all will agree, it is the learned lot who are sick and tired of the corrupt practices. Most of us find solace in venting it out in blogs and social networks. We do not realize that we have lost wars without even knowing about it. We don't have to lead a war against corruption but we can be supporters and create leaders. We have many people who are looking for ways and means to make India a better place. Let us take some time to look around we will definitely stumble on individual/organization who puts people's cause before their's. Let us open our horizons beyond our families. We need a better Nation for our future generations to have a peaceful life.

from:  Shobila Kali
Posted on: Mar 16, 2011 at 23:55 IST

It is really ironical that all of us are discussing about vote buying, have we thought about the people who do not go to vote at all and who are not influenced by money. So how many of us have a voters ID and vote in every election? The sad part is we do not want to be a part of the system but want the system to change on its own. If a burglary took place in my house i will have to report it to the Police, for the police to take action if at all they are willing to do their job. I cannot keep complaining about the inefficiency of the police with out placing a complaint. This is exactly what we are doing, at the time of election when we have the option to choose who is to rule us we neglect our duty and remain silent. We have stood by the bad people by not acting when it was time to act.

from:  Shobila Kali
Posted on: Mar 16, 2011 at 23:38 IST

First of all appreciation to 'The Hindu' to take such things to the shameless public, I am from Madurai, and i know exactly how this happened. People there think that this is the only time to extract money from the Politicians who go abandoning the public for 5 years. These politicians earn a lot of money and they recover more than the money they might have invested for the bribe. People don't know this cause for them it is the one day happiness they get in spending the bribe money.

My question is: IF by publishing this things, is the attitude of the people going to change or the politicians going to change? NO! even 100 Gandhis will not be able to change the corrupt political system of INDIA.

I feel really ashamed now of the corrupt system and now understand why the West laughs at India. There are no values in India.

from:  Alagurajan Karunakaran
Posted on: Mar 16, 2011 at 23:05 IST

What puzzles me is this: Thousands of crores of rupees are distributed to crores of people in every major election for many years now. And, everybody knows that everybody knows -- including the Election Commission and the Judiciary. So, how is it possible that a crime that has been committed CRORES of times cannot be proven -- with irrefutable evidence -- to the EC or the courts even ONCE? Remember we have seen many cases of investigative journalists putting in great effort to uncover one-off cases. We have premier investigative agencies that have solved very complex cases. Forget them. So many honest, patriotic citizens among us that are aghast at the continuation of this gigantic problem. And, we can't collectively collect enough evidence to present a single iron-clad case in a court?

from:  K Palaka
Posted on: Mar 16, 2011 at 22:59 IST

Its high time for a renaissance in the political system. Let the CBI conduct an inquiry after all the election in every corner!! Let the culprits not get escaped!! Tamil Nadu is the wetland of corruption. you can get an engineering or mbbs certificate in tamilnadu with money!!

from:  Ajith Prasad
Posted on: Mar 16, 2011 at 22:46 IST

I just have one doubt. What is that factor that makes people so loyal to those giving them money. Why can't they take the money and vote for whomever they like. Is it fear or some misguided sense of morality..?

from:  Ashok Kumar
Posted on: Mar 16, 2011 at 22:30 IST

Though there is nothing new about giving cash to the voters which is happening for quite a long time, the proportion has reached a gigantic scale in a very professional way during the DMK regime.Unless people's thinking process gets a change this will not fade.Once the people willingly start accepting this bribe they are loosing the moral authority to question the corrupt practises of any one in the soceity. DMK has literally exploited the situation of poor people's poverty and spoiled the very process of Democracy.

from:  Shriram.T.K.L
Posted on: Mar 16, 2011 at 22:04 IST

So far we think we only know the truth about growing corruption in Polictics. Now these cables reveal everyone in the world knows. I would agree with my fellow readers that unless people realize the power of their vote and use properly, corruption will continue.

from:  Krishna
Posted on: Mar 16, 2011 at 22:03 IST

The greatest surprise and in a subtle way happiness for me in this case is that, people are not just getting money from them and voting for a different party whom they think is not corrupted or would form a better government. People are so truthful that they take the money knowing that the party plans to earn all this money back when it comes to power, and still vote for them out of faithfulness.Reminds me of Vijayakanth's statement when he was campaigning in my constituency. "If they give money, take it, it will be of use to you. If the other party also gives money, still take it. But Vote for me, only I will do good to you." But People wanted to be faithful to the party that pays better it seems.

from:  Maheswaran
Posted on: Mar 16, 2011 at 21:59 IST

If Owaisi is doing what he is saying, I'm ok with it but then we need to make this a little formal. The seat should be auctioned to whoever pledges the most, not just interms of empty promises but by hard cash in the bank. While this is being done, let there be anti-corruption laws targeted at elected representatives and these guys should be presumed guilty until proven otherwise. We will have fun, then!

from:  Gautham
Posted on: Mar 16, 2011 at 20:02 IST

There is no limit to which the present TN government of MK, will stoop to, was made very clear when rowdyism was let loose during the last Chennai city corporation elections. MK and his clan are after making money for themselves is absolutely made clear by the 2-G scam, which MK tried to conceal by adopting many tricks known to him, like playing Dalit card etc. TN is doomed to become a desert, as predicted by scientists, with the policies adopted by MK and his party goons in scraping the river beds of valuable river sands.

from:  Shyam. N. R.
Posted on: Mar 16, 2011 at 19:30 IST

Seems that the last politician listed has done something good by donating money to dig a well and providing for a girl's marriage. He is far better than those who have distributed money via the newspaper.

from:  Ranjith
Posted on: Mar 16, 2011 at 18:53 IST

What the people of Tamilnadu don't know is, if the Political parties are going to give them 5000 rs for voting in their favor, they will make sure that once they come into power they will get 10000 rs from each of us in the name of bribe! It's better not to vote for them because when they bribe you...they expect the same from you.

from:  Aravind
Posted on: Mar 16, 2011 at 18:37 IST

Owaisi's reported statement "but that's the great thing about democracy" takes one's breadth away. The shameless confessions by Owassi, Patturajan, and Chidambaram's son to a US diplomat shows how politicians in India have a made a mockery of democracy. Will the EC have the guts to take action against the persons and parties involved? Will the SC please step in if the EC will not do its job?There are a couple of points to note. It appears that the money looted in the 2G Scam was being used to fund political campaigns of the DMK, the party to which M.K. Alagiri and Raja belonged. The Congress was obviously well aware of what was going on in Tamil Nadu and elsewhere as it was also a party to such activities. No wonder that they were not willing to take action against Raja for the 2G Scam as their own activities would have come to light. Foreign countries who want to get the persons of their choice elected do know what to do to influence elections in India.

from:  Krishna
Posted on: Mar 16, 2011 at 18:34 IST

"Journalists, politicians, and voters spoke of the bribes as a commonly accepted fact of the election process." If this is so common and information generally available, can Election Commission be unaware of this fact? And if Election Commission is aware of the commonly followed process by political parties, why did it not take any action? Since Election Commission did not take any action so far and neither had observed this fact so far, then one can understand why UPA-1 govt insisted on particular individual (Naveen Chawla) for the crucial post of Chief Election Commissioner.

from:  Dinesh Kumar
Posted on: Mar 16, 2011 at 18:20 IST

I agree with Saurabh. India is one of the very few countries in the world which is continuing 'First Past the Post System' for competitive elections. Even Britain, which pioneered this system, has given up this system and is about to bring an electoral reform very soon. In India, a country where 40% of the population is below poverty line, one vote less or one vote more can change the election equations. In such a wretched model distribution of money does not guarantee an election victory but not doing so shall guarantee defeat.That is the reason why political parties which started with sound ethical principles have to resort to cash for vote. It is foolish to think that those who get elected by spending money will become patriots overnight. They get their returns in the form of the corruption. In a way 'First Past the Post System' has become a boon for the corrupt to enter the system. Election Commission of India should take this up seriously.

from:  Sudhakar Matta, LokSatta Party (Makkal Sakthi Katchi in TN)
Posted on: Mar 16, 2011 at 18:11 IST

Digressing from the main topic, I would like to record my views on election management.If local and national elections are planned in more or less the same peroid, the country as a whole would be spending less on elections. There should also be a cap of money that each party can spend on elections which should be audited by the Election Commission of India. All the small business opportunities as in posters,flag etc should be mandatorily provided to NGO's or struggling small scale industries identified by the district collector's office or some agency through fair-trade.At least, some section of the struggling realms of the society would get benefited from this.

from:  Aishwarya Krishnan
Posted on: Mar 16, 2011 at 18:07 IST

Democracy is a system for selecting the right people for governance. Every system has its wear and tear. The efficacy of Indian democracy is in its waning trend. A strong action on the rectification effort alone can save the system in India. Or, democracy would soon to be a matter of history in India. We cannot even guess what would be the state of affairs if democracy fails in India.

from:  R.C.Mohan
Posted on: Mar 16, 2011 at 17:52 IST

Why only in TN and AP. It happens in Karnataka as well. All the parties indulge in it. I have seen people boasting about taking money from all three parties. People have become smart. The Election commission must be vigilant and in case a party is found to indulge in such practise the candidate should be banned to contest.

from:  Sudhakar
Posted on: Mar 16, 2011 at 17:34 IST

The position in Tamil Nadu and Andhra are well known. In the Bimaru States, it has always been muscle-power! From one State to another, the techniques vary but electoral corruption is a fact of life. Better literacy and economic empowerment (the latter is what the vote-seekers probably are attempting!) hopefully would make an effect. In my home State Kerala, money plays a relatively minor role as a good percentage of the voters are committed. Those who are offered money or other incentives do quietly accept but vote for their own candidates.

from:  V.S. Narayanan
Posted on: Mar 16, 2011 at 17:32 IST

The whole world knows that our democracy is a sham. That our politicians are the most corrupt. That India tops in the list of countries that have unaccounted money stashed in Swiss Banks. Particularly, the picture is dismal in Tamil Nadu because the stranglehold of ruling party in the political culture,nourished and developed.Unless this is seriously combated, there seems to be no other way.

from:  G.Naryanaswamy
Posted on: Mar 16, 2011 at 16:49 IST

Why is the US acting as the self appointed guardians of democracy in India? Why is there a nexus between politicians and US consulate? If the US is concerned about the ethics in election, they should address the unethical practices in their own country. Why is that in US, only people with backing of Oil Companies and Pharmaceutical companies come in to power? There are unethical practices during election in India, which is unacceptable but US need not worry about it.

from:  Sirajudheen Nellur
Posted on: Mar 16, 2011 at 16:40 IST

I don't think it is a big deal. At least by giving some money they are helping few poor people in India. To help people of India elections should be made mandatory every 2 yrs and donating money should be made legal. It will solve 2 issues: help India to rise and black money to be donated to poor. As far as voting goes, even after donating money, 'win' depends on people's hands. That is 'the great thing about democracy!'

from:  VVerma
Posted on: Mar 16, 2011 at 16:38 IST

There are allegations that politicians, bureaucracy, judiciary, leaders, parliamentarians and the media are corrupt. Let us admit that with the exception of one or two, here and there, all Indians are corrupt. If all these do not work out, those in power, can corrupt the EVMs too. So long as citizens in all walks of life themselves do not realise and develop character, discipline and straightforwardness in their dealings and relationships, this nonsense will not stop. Somehow God is saving the country. But, for how long? But He will now start thinking 'Oh!God! Patience beyond a certain limit is suicidal. I must put a stop to this.'

from:  Venkatachalam
Posted on: Mar 16, 2011 at 16:32 IST

Why isn't the media going berserk over this issue? If this was such a common knowledge why didn't the so call independent election commission raise hell? Why is the opposition who were ever so eager to disrupt parliament, silent over this issue.How long should we allow this conspiracy of rich and powerful to undermine everything we have been taught to love and cherish? But perhaps the fault is mine. I am nothing but a selfish spineless lowlife. When I am wronged I cry and I whine but do nothing.

from:  Kshitiz
Posted on: Mar 16, 2011 at 16:19 IST

"Politicians and their aides in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh..." - wonder how Karnataka didn't figure in this - the present Karnataka government has the dubious distinction of earning "the most corrupt state in India" tag. We ordinary citizens look up to the powerful Indian media for building a strong citizen movement to tackle political corruption which is the mother of all corruption that forces govt. officials to stoop to take bribes.

from:  Raja
Posted on: Mar 16, 2011 at 16:18 IST

Please do not paint all of South India in one stroke. Just South West of TN and AP lies Kerala, where you cannot buy a single vote by bribing and most Malayalees would look down upon such practices. I live in the US and the vast majority of computer and other engineers come from TN and AP, which has always indicated to me that they are a smart lot. Yet, why are they so complacent about such blatant practice of bribery and voter fraud? I have always wondered about this. Such practices cannot be termed 'democracy'. What is the difference between a dictator buying an election in African countries or the Middle East and these states? Their chief ministers are de-facto dictators, anyway with their families and friends amassing such powers and wealth. When will the collective shame cross a threshold when people will demand change, as in Egypt?

from:  Uma Sankar
Posted on: Mar 16, 2011 at 16:16 IST

This is so unfair- why didn't I get any?

from:  Abhinav
Posted on: Mar 16, 2011 at 16:10 IST

The article is quite true. Why should we term the article unethical or biased? It's indeed reflecting the reality of democracy in our country. Only the poor and middle class go to vote. And they look at short term petty benefits. Any political party that comes to power remains silent for the first 1-2 years.Then the looting starts.In this era where even small nations are turning out to be economically developed, democracy in India is misused and turns out to be a big hurdle to development.

from:  Damodharan
Posted on: Mar 16, 2011 at 16:07 IST

Would love to see Cables, regarding the current unrest in AP. I would like to know what the US thinks of the mess in AP..and potential business loss/gain for them.

from:  Vishnu
Posted on: Mar 16, 2011 at 15:59 IST

Surely, being poor does not necessarily mean being dishonest as is implied in some of the comments regarding this news item. Regardless of poverty and lack of education, the basic moral code of all human beings which is absent here. It is now 'anything goes' philosophy which is the main culprit. There is no point in blaming the politicos alone. After all, they come from the masses who lack the basic moral code. In monarcy, it is 'yatha praja, thatha raja' while in a republic it is 'yatha praja, thatha raja'. If this sort of thing is to end, we the ordinary citizen should apply rigorous moral code to our own behaviour. May be a compulsory reading of 'My experiments with truth' can change a large number of people.

from:  Nathan
Posted on: Mar 16, 2011 at 15:46 IST

The West has a lot to learn from the East, especially Indians. Luring voters is another lesson for the West. How anyone can call only the politicians corrupt? Every citizen (neglect the minority who still believe in ethics and such things, they are minority afterall and in 'democrazy' only majority wins)is corrupt or made corrupt in one or the other way around. Good going, India!

from:  Ponraj
Posted on: Mar 16, 2011 at 15:17 IST

This farce is enacted all over India, not just the South. The commentators here while blaming, names only one party and the main national party is given the go by. Actually the Congress should get the flak more, simply because they facilitated all this mega corruption and were hand in glove with DMK. The incident in which Karthik was involved in the 2006 Assembly election is still fresh in one's mind. He got away only because his father threatened the Police with dire consequences if their alliance was to come to power. The press never went after this story simply because they had their own 'heroes' and villains. All said and done, it is a shame that we take all this American's perceptions/opinions/evaluations etc. as a 'revelation' even though we all knew this all the while as daylight.

from:  Pradeep
Posted on: Mar 16, 2011 at 15:10 IST

The Motto is simple. 'Invest in an election, earn for 5 years. Earn enough to bribe voters in the next Election, the cycle continues.....'. Until the voters In TN come out the the vice-like grip of the 2 Dravidian parties a great State like TN will go down the drain like Bihar... We have already seen five years of an entire Clan looting a state. God forbid if this should happen once again. As Rajinikanth said earlier 'if we vote for these parties , even god cannot save TN'.

from:  Senthil Kumar
Posted on: Mar 16, 2011 at 14:52 IST

Some how we are not ready to accept the truth, as hypocrisy is in our nerves. Even after 100 years this culture is going to prevail in india, so lets to do a good research and find innovative methods of bribing the voter and write text books on it, which will be useful to young indians who aspire to be future politicians. Sounds weird, because its truth.

from:  Kiran Maddu
Posted on: Mar 16, 2011 at 14:45 IST

In any election symbol is very important for the political parties. There is a provision in the 'Symbol Order' by which the Election Commission is empowered to freeze the symbol allotted to recognised political parties for violation of Model Code of Conduct. The Election Commission can try this and freeze the symbol just before notification to twist the arm of major parties who violate the code.

from:  S.Bragadha
Posted on: Mar 16, 2011 at 14:44 IST

I blame people more than politician for this. If you are dumb enough to vote incompetent corrupt people just for one time small cash then you deserve to rot in hell. You still have the choice to elect somebody else after taking the money as voting is annonymous. Problem also is lack of other good option in most states. In Bihar they wont have chosen lalu for any amount but in other states not much difference between two so public chose by accepting small gifts.

from:  Rushabh
Posted on: Mar 16, 2011 at 14:41 IST

These politicians are like this only and as well as voters... this kind of news not yet published by any local news papers or local language news channels why because everyone have tied up with any of political parties...... when this bribing ends then only India can become world leader till that there is no chance .

from:  Venkat
Posted on: Mar 16, 2011 at 14:41 IST

wake up Tamil Nadu people and set an example before India electing right kind of people in your State which is going for polls. Because this is the chance of now or never before young people of that State who were dreaming to build stronger and brighter Bharath. If you people stand as mute spectators then Karunanidhi and Jayalalitha become Jai Ho in their plans of dividing people on caste using money and muscle power. So elect people those capable of making differences in our society and lives, good luck

from:  Naresh Pathak
Posted on: Mar 16, 2011 at 14:31 IST

We don't need cables to tell us political parties dole out cash to people in slums. The irony is despite this being a known secret no action is ever taken. 'That's the thing about democracy'.

from:  Vinod Subramanian
Posted on: Mar 16, 2011 at 14:23 IST

In a country like India (with approx 30-40% people living below poverty line), if a single vote (least possible margin) decides who comes to power, these things are bound to happen. Unless and until we move to Proportionate based system, we cannot get rid of politicians bribing people to get votes. Abject poverty will force people to accept the short term profit(accept bribe) and all the politicians knows this very well. In a proportionate based system, a candidate gets elected based on the proportion of the votes he gets. So if 10% of total votes are for political party XYZ, then that party gets 10% seats, period. Most of the developed countries use proportionate based system rather than first past the post (which is what India uses). It's high time we move to a proportionate based system.

from:  Saurabh
Posted on: Mar 16, 2011 at 14:20 IST

This has become our culture and it will not be right to link bribe for vote with South India.We do it everywhere - in every Legislative assembly, in the Parliament, in UN and you name it

from:  John
Posted on: Mar 16, 2011 at 14:18 IST

It is not only south India but North also. Bribing the poor masses with cash, gifts and liquor is common place. It is ironic that the educated affluent class criticise this and other corrupt practices but refrain from voting. Till this trend changes, politicians are not going to change their tactics of bribing poor people to gather votes

from:  Rachna
Posted on: Mar 16, 2011 at 14:06 IST

M K Alagiri's election as MP should be disqualified and he should be debarred from contesting in any election in any form be it panchayat chairman, party election, Corporation, Assembly or Lok Sabha elections. One stringent action in full force will make other culprits think on this.

from:  Bheema
Posted on: Mar 16, 2011 at 13:40 IST

When the WikiLeaks exposed the true shades of the US, our media went gaga over it and made a hero of Julian Assange. Today, when something of less importance to the world, but more significance to India, has been revealed by the cables, we are maintaining a shameful silence. The revelations are a blot on UPA government. The Congress-led government, headed by Dr. Manmohan Singh, is making India into a camp follower of the US. What a tragedy that the Americans have a say even when it comes to Cabinet reshuffle! Secondly, what is devastating is the fact that the media is silent even on the expose relating to the bribery practised by political parties at the time of elections. Is there a media functioning in this country?

from:  ViswanathV
Posted on: Mar 16, 2011 at 13:37 IST

South Indian bureaucrats have silently corrupted the entire nation. Dangerously educated corrupt people...

from:  Pranjal
Posted on: Mar 16, 2011 at 13:30 IST

Issue of bribing voters during elections is for long and everyone knows about this issue.People discuss this at homes,offices,chat rooms etc and there is anger but despair that there no effective voice to express there views. Thanks, Hindu for providing a voice to people. Looks like it's in interest of the current politicians to keep people in perpetual artificial poverty and live on largess.This vicious circle needs to be broken .Middle classes, honest and well off need to come out and vote and participate in politics.Unless middle classes does something now India will implode at some point as current system is unstable. Andra is one such example, politicians have pitched Telugu people against Telugu people blaming each other for others poverty.

from:  Reddy
Posted on: Mar 16, 2011 at 13:26 IST

THE HINDU has shown again that they have the back bone and stand by the principles of the founding fathers - Good Job. However I feel still THE HINDU should take all effort to use local media primarily TAMIL FM radio to reach the mass. I am of the opinion that many of these people who accepted bribes or who could be manipulated by money are not THE HINDU readers, the message that votes are way more worth than money and people give them 5000Rs but swindle away 5000 Crores of their money should be taken to mass in their language. Even the illiterates dont want to believe the opposition campaigns because they know both sides of aisle is filled with corruption. So as judiciary steps into many of the country's affairs suo motu, the main stream media MUST ACT NOW by spearheading campaign for anti corruption.Will they do, will they play a role to save India?

from:  Sriram Devanathan
Posted on: Mar 16, 2011 at 13:21 IST

I appreciate your Wikileaks series, but it is important to see this as conversation between Americans. Their perceptions need not reflect the ground reality in all cases. Not appreciating this would be like accepting the twisted British version of Indian history as the bounden truth.

from:  Vani S
Posted on: Mar 16, 2011 at 13:15 IST

It is not Surprising that Indian Parties Buy votes from slums and rural areas, the surprising thing is that these politicians so openly discuss their matters before US Officials. For Mr OWaisi the leader of MIM in Hyderabad this could have devastating electoral consequences. Now he will be seen as a lackey of United states by the Muslims.

from:  Aditya
Posted on: Mar 16, 2011 at 13:02 IST

First Thanks to you for publishing in right time. All parties in India play the same magic card till citizens realize their mistake and use their knowledge. Democracy can stabilize if any one political party is ready to implement few changes : 1) Vote eligibility only for PAN card holders. They pay for running govt and will execute their responsibilities correctly. 2) Improve education. Make education free. Also make all govt servants children mandatory to join in local govt schools ( esp all Ministers /MLAs children ).

from:  Babu.V.L.
Posted on: Mar 16, 2011 at 13:01 IST

This is disgusting! It wrenches my heart when i look at the condition of people in my country.If candidates like Chidambaram who are highly educated and qualified adhere to such practises in order to gain vote bank,what can be said of crude,illiterate politicians.Ours is truly a shameless race.

from:  Akshay Gupta
Posted on: Mar 16, 2011 at 12:52 IST

I belong to the Tirumangalam constituency when the bye election was held. Unlike what wikileaks says that poor people accepted money but rather all people from poor, middle class and the rich equally accepted money without shame. A large no. of college students from nearby colleges were lured for biriyani, liquor and a daily pay of Rs 200 and above for just sitting under DMK pandals. This was the greatest shame of democracy when i have seen with my eyes in daylight when all the educated people stood hopeless as well as most of them accepted the bribes. This is a open secret for people of Madurai.

from:  Daniel
Posted on: Mar 16, 2011 at 12:50 IST

There is no differance in democracy and autocracy.Demecracy allows too many thieves to grab the treasure rather than a king or his family. Thieves are so enthusiastic to get a chance for their share for country'wealth, they resort any means to win the election.All political parties are keen on keeping the powerty level stable or further below to attract poor voters through bribing.

from:  Dahsuon
Posted on: Mar 16, 2011 at 12:49 IST

It is unfortunate that only 40 - 60% vote during elections in almost all the states. And the remaining who don't vote are educated class who can bring in lot of difference to the mandate. If the entire nation goes out for voting, the petty cash given to such voters will not make any difference in the mandate. Agreed EC should take necessary steps in the light of these events. However, the need of the hour is for educated class to VOTE and VOTE for the right party or candidate. This is the simplest way you or I can make a difference to the sarcastic statement 'but that's the great thing about democracy'.

from:  Girish Warrier
Posted on: Mar 16, 2011 at 12:48 IST

Thanks Hindu, for first publishing this shameful thing that's happening behind the Indian democracy. This is well known to the people, yet no media or court or higher authority had to guts to show this out. This shows the efficiency our law enforcing authority functions and the belief people have on these institutions.

from:  Arunan
Posted on: Mar 16, 2011 at 12:31 IST

Even the Election Commission has said that it is difficult to curb money power during elections. To an extent this is beyond the scope of Election Commission and we need agencies like CBDT to monitor the money power its source and its outflow. But I fail to understand why the Election Commission cannot cancel the elections. On how many ocassions they have barred the candidates who have used money/musle power on the people? I think the Election Commission rather than educating the people not to accept money for votes can take stern action against parties and candidates which will make people realize that their votes are priceless and democracy is supreme. Will the current Election Commissioner do it?

from:  Ragothaman
Posted on: Mar 16, 2011 at 12:29 IST

As a small school boy, I remember on the eve of 1962 election the candidate through his agent offered RS one rupee to each voter as an incentive to go and vote. But for this compensation the poor would have gone for the daily labour work to earn his/ her living. It was in this election the former minister Mrs.Loordmmal Simon was defeated by an independent candidate. Is it right or wrong I do not want to enter into the discussion? What I am saying is: it was prevalent even 45 years ago. Secondly those who say that no incentive should be given in the form of gift or brife are the people who live on corrupt practices and get lot of wealth. Even the Deepavali gift/ Christmas/ New Year etc are all one kind of corruption where the rich are indulged recklessly but when it comes to poor getting a gift they make loud noise.

from:  R. Bhakther Solomon
Posted on: Mar 16, 2011 at 12:21 IST

They were distributing colour TVs until very recently in Tamil Nadu openly to the general public, using public money. It is as good as distributing cash. Distributing fertilizers to farmers or kerosene and rice to BPL families is okay but what is the use of the idiot box for poor people? Tomorrow they will distribute air conditioners so that people can watch their colour TV in comfort!

from:  Vijay A
Posted on: Mar 16, 2011 at 12:19 IST

In the villages near Madurai and Sivagangai, I doubt if people have even heard about WikiLeaks. I would think Mr. MK Alagiri would be unperturbed by all of this. After all, BPL families wouldn't say no to handy money. From their perspective, running their families would be a bigger priority as compared to politics, progress and power etc. And it goes without saying that the DMK party has deeper pockets than all of its opposition parties put together. This election too would have its share of bribing and buying and even maybe ballot capturing. What a farce!

from:  Sripathi
Posted on: Mar 16, 2011 at 11:50 IST

In one sense DMK has set precedence and raised the expected bribe amount from 500 to 5000. And this amount is bound to increase to a level not manageable by any party. Hope this deters parties from distributing money.

from:  Saye
Posted on: Mar 16, 2011 at 11:32 IST

There is a simple solution: The elimination of paper money. What is currently transacted with cash can be reliably transacted with two way debit cards (for making and accepting payments) and mobile phones (nearly everyone has a phone) with NFC (Near Field Communications). Even SMS can provide a simple and highly effective means of payments (through unique payment codes and confirmation codes generated by banks). It then becomes a simple matter of throwing enough computing power to find patterns of money transfers. Ten thousand Rs 5K transfers to unrelated accounts a month before elections? Duh! Of course effectively throwing the books at these pigs, once such patterns are detected (and they will be), is another matter. The near complete (except perhaps for really small amounts) elimination of paper money has the potential to be a remarkably excellent fix for most of the evils that ail this country. I have the intelligence and technical savvy. Anyone with the political savvy to get this rolling?

from:  Schmitt
Posted on: Mar 16, 2011 at 11:29 IST

Power is the only goal for politicians. They will do anything to attain that. Keeping people unemployed, poor is advantage for politicians. People should fight back by taking these bribes from these politicians, direct them to good cause and vote against them. Thats the only way out.

from:  Lakshman
Posted on: Mar 16, 2011 at 11:25 IST

kudos to hindu for revealing truth.although these things prevalent across pan India and most people know about it but scale like this and shamelesness is shocking. As revealed through leaks that DMK think's that urban slums are important for them so that they can influence voters easily revealed hypocrisy of politicians on issues of development and governance. But it's not only politicians but people of this country are also responsible for their misery. They must throw out greed, shortsightedness and must demand what they are worthy for. Unless citizens of this country wake up above from caste, religion, reservation they or their children are not going to enjoy the real development.

Posted on: Mar 16, 2011 at 11:22 IST

Voters should accept the bribes and proceed to vote according to their own preferences. When the politicians realize that bribing is useless, they will gradually stop this practice.

from:  Haridasps
Posted on: Mar 16, 2011 at 11:22 IST

It's true that politicians purchase votes during elections. But the most importanat thing is that United states is using diplomacy for spy work. It has been proved without doubt that even the foreign policies were based on US opinion and that we no longer enjoy a transparent system of governance. Why should we need a government here if US can interfer in all most all walks of governance. It's a shame on Manmohan and UPA. Apart from UPA, BJP also surrendered to USA which is really a threat to our internal security. We will not be able to take a independent decision on foreign policies in future.

from:  Jaisal
Posted on: Mar 16, 2011 at 11:07 IST

As long as the voters are receiving money or goods from politicians, they are not having any moral right to accuse the politicians for their earning money through Scandal. The politicians, normally are accumulating wealth or money, mostly to expend in the future elections and for the sake of their party they relates. Only a small part of the money they accumulate, may be used for their own life. Any person, whether a politician or a government servent can't eat gold or silver or a thousand rupee note they earned as food. If a common man wants one hundred rupees for his day to day life, a wealthy man whether a politician or a governmant servant may expend one thousand rupees per day. That is the limit. The rest of the money they accumulate, are all invested by them as black money for their future political use. So, it is the moral duty of the voters to refuse any bribe from the politicians if they want the politicians to be clean in future.

from:  CA.S.Karthigeyan
Posted on: Mar 16, 2011 at 10:43 IST

Political India is really getting stripped naked. What a shame! It is interesting to note that the Congress party's 'holier than thou' attitude towards the DMK is a sham. What will that section of the media which castigates the DMK while protecting the Congress in the 2G scam case have to say about the WikiLeaks disclosures about what the Congress does during elections in South India? Will it do an expose on this?

from:  K.Vijayakumar
Posted on: Mar 16, 2011 at 10:36 IST

'THE HINDU' deserves full appreciation and congratulations for 'Wikileaks'. The timing of the leaks coinciding with the forthcoming assembly elections, will certainly dampen the voters. But, to speak out the truth, these methods of bribing the voters has been taking place in all Assembly and Lok Sabha elections. This time around, it is a golden opportunity for the people to exercise their valuable franchise to the right party and to the right candidate. The political parties also should ensure to field the 'Right Candidate' who is more service oriented to the people of the constituency who elects him or her. Let us see what will happen in this assembly election.

from:  R.Sundara Raman
Posted on: Mar 16, 2011 at 10:32 IST

Immediately after the expose of INDIA CABLES by THE HINDU, I was looking at the follow-up response from other media house. Strangely, no major mediahouse is intreseted in following the news. Today's lead article exposed the well known secret of TN political way of handling by-elections by bribing poor voters. Now, the cable leaks directly refers to the tactics played by the DMK bigwig Mr. M.K.Alagiri, son of Mr. K.Karunathidi, Chief Minister of TN. What action that we can expect from Election Commission ?

from:  Kavitha.J
Posted on: Mar 16, 2011 at 10:08 IST

Are we sub-humans to allow things like this to go on?

from:  Simhan
Posted on: Mar 16, 2011 at 10:07 IST

Compared to the other South Indian states (Kerala and Karnataka) the economic disparity prevailing in TN and AP is very huge. This might be the reason that bribing voters is a common practice or an easy method to ensure their votes.

from:  Sree
Posted on: Mar 16, 2011 at 09:58 IST

It is a known fact that the voters are being bribed with cash by many political parties in the country. What is surprising is the fact that this has been one of the talking points in the US cables. The talk of stopping the money flow by the Election Commission is a farce. Further the IT department is doing nothing to curb such malpractices. Had they grilled the successful candidates about the source of income for election expenses, it would have put the fear in the candidates adopting such methods. Atleast this time, we hope that the Election Commission will unearth a lot of black money during campaign.

from:  V T Rajan
Posted on: Mar 16, 2011 at 09:55 IST

This is indeed very revealing but only confirms what people of India intuitively knew all along ! It is too much to expect that the people who have been incriminated by the article will take moral responsibility and relinquish their posts and turn a fesh leaf. The unfortunate trend to portray knaves, thieves and kings of corruption as role-models for our children should cease forthwith! The way to confront this menace is only by educating children about their rights and obligations in a democratic form of Government. The right to education bill reluctantly introduced by our parliamentarians may yet prove to be their own undoing if education is made relevant and broad-based instead of the mish-mash that is dished out as primary education right now. However proper implementation of this important bill is mandatory if it is to yield results on the ground. However this will take a couple of decades and in the interim urgent steps are needed to ensure free and fair elections in the forthcoming state assembly elections. The Election Commission of India will be judged by the people only by the manner in which they get rid of money-power in elections.

from:  Dr M S Seshadri
Posted on: Mar 16, 2011 at 09:47 IST

Kudos to 'The Hindu' for sharing the 'Wikileaks'.. I have been an avid reader of 'The Hindu' from the age of 5, and I remember vividly the 'Bofors expose' by N Ram and Chitra Subramaniam when I was barely a teenager! The articles which have appeared in the past two days would certainly make our thick skinned politicians quite uneasy! The timing of the expose is also right.. as we are reeling under severe corruption across all areas! Hopefully this will make our politicians beware and someone who is known for value systems and ethos, must take charge and allow the lead Institutions should be allowed to bring in a change in culture by instilling value systems in today's youth.We can look at other countries to emulate this... for example it could either be a 'Singapore model' or a 'Denmark model'.

from:  Suresh Chandrasekaran
Posted on: Mar 16, 2011 at 09:42 IST

It is very shameful to read that 5000 per voter.What a great mockery of the democracy? In order to recover the loss A.Raja was tarnising and using his power to gain as much money as he can.Parties are nasty actors and inductors of corruptions.great job done by 'The Hindu'.

from:  Sabyasachi Samal
Posted on: Mar 16, 2011 at 09:30 IST

I am sure the person who came up with the headline is from South India. And if I am right this displays a clear lack of journalistic ethics where reporters are not to let their personal inclinations leak into their reports. The headline could have easily run as 'Cash for votes a way of political life in AP and TN'. Whether it is an attempt to make such thoughtless and almost baseless generalizations or if its mere carelessness this is not the way to put across facts. Because we cannot assert completely that this is not an occurrence in the north. Just because one finds some leads in a certain direction you cannot assume its safe to claim it as a trend.

from:  Deborah William
Posted on: Mar 16, 2011 at 09:26 IST

What kind of genius does it take to know this basic truth about TN politics. People are treated like cattle - and people don't want to see anything different. Come election time, it is freebie time!

from:  B S Kumar
Posted on: Mar 16, 2011 at 09:20 IST

Every Indian is going to wake up one day and find that his/her country has been sold off and no longer exists. These politicians will murder, conspire, cajole and even lay in bed with you if they think it'll make them win the election. And we want to become a superpower - you're kidding me, right?

from:  Vivek Umasuthan
Posted on: Mar 16, 2011 at 09:07 IST

The Azhagiri Madurai bribe incident was quite well known across Tamil Nadu but don't remember it being reported in any of the papers during that time!If what Mr.Owaisi is doing is wrong,then isn't promising certain sops/schemes to get elected a kind of bribe to the people as well?

from:  Ravi Shanker
Posted on: Mar 16, 2011 at 08:50 IST

There are expectations and realities, there are and always will be misuse of power given to anybody but should the people admitting such deeds be allowed to represent people in democracy? Since people are allowed to choose their representatives the candidates should be willing to work for them. If power/position is gained by spending money first thing would be to recover the spent amount, every body likes a fair trade! This happens in education also if one pay more to get trained and develop skills, first thing would be to recover the amount spent. However there are great thing about democracy, one thing is the right of every individual, and the liberty he enjoys,The above case is a good example of liberty taken by certain people. What about the liberty of the other people, May be its time to get realistic and say what allowed and what's not?

from:  Deepak Kumaraswamy
Posted on: Mar 16, 2011 at 07:57 IST

Thanks to The Hindu for publishing this at a critical time. The whole world sees India as the greatest Democracy.What a shame. So long 40% of the people below poverty line and suffering for day to day existance Political parties with money power supported by vested interests can win the elections.Election Commission and other watchdogs are helpless in such situations.Unless common man is educated about the value of votes and made to understand it is punishable to get bribe and vote things are not going to improve.This is one of the reasons why Governments are not keen to solve the problem of Black money,eradication of Poverty,and educating them with proper social values. NGOs must be more active and meet the elctorates in the rural and slum areas and advise them.It is a great task.If India needs to be recognised as a Great Nation we have to go a long way.The present young educated generation has a huge responsibility.

from:  Narayanan Krishnan
Posted on: Mar 16, 2011 at 07:33 IST

We have heard rumours that the parties of south India are bribing people to vote for them in the Lok Sabha elections. But this article confirms that it is indeed true. It is also a shameful practice of behalf of the politicians to bribe people to vote for them and that too Rs5000 for each is unacceptable. Therefore it is necessary to educate the poor people that it is a right given to them by our constitution to elect a person trusted by everyone. But at the same time, it is the poverty of indian people which push them to the limit of accepting bribe. Also restrictions and punishments for such actions must be enacted by the Election Commission. But whatever the limitations, politicians still continue to do their unlawful and atrocious activities.

from:  Sayee Krishna
Posted on: Mar 16, 2011 at 07:17 IST

Paying cash to voters is very common in the Indian Democracy.Particularly this is more visible in Southern states,and people are accepting the cash,because of their Poverty.This poverty should be completely eradicated,unless and until politicians should change the life style of the common man.This may not happen because politicians are spending money for votes and wants to get back his investment.Net result no development to people,and people will continue to suffer in the poverty line.More then four decades i have been watching this. Election Commission should be more vigilant against paying cash to voters.A person inducing corruption for votes ,how can you expect neat Governance from him.Will the People decide the right choice for them?

from:  K.Ragavan
Posted on: Mar 16, 2011 at 07:14 IST

It does not require the US to propagate this. Every Indian knows about this. Where does this money come from? From the black money of the candidate or Party. They are never shown in election expenses. This is the reason that the Congress Party is so tight lipped about black money.How to get rid of this evil? Shoot the people who practice it without any exception.

from:  S N Iyer
Posted on: Mar 16, 2011 at 07:08 IST

The people at large in Tamilnadu know pretty well that voters received money from political parties to caste their votes for their candidates. How to prevent this in this ensuing election? Unless people change, this will prevail.

from:  S. Venugopalan
Posted on: Mar 16, 2011 at 07:00 IST

"That's the great thing about democracy!" I think I wont forget this sentence ever.

from:  Varun
Posted on: Mar 16, 2011 at 06:30 IST
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