The Supreme Court’s recent observation (July 6) that the promise of freebies in an election manifesto does not amount to corruption may sound proper technically but its ill-effects on society will be known only in the long run.

Will this prompt our political parties to go all out in promising the sky to people without any hesitation in forthcoming elections to ensure victory by all means?

Poor people are treated as vote banks and persuaded by offering freebies and other inducements, before and after an election. For the rich it makes no difference as they are either influential enough to have their interests taken care of or are indifferent to happenings. It is the middle class that pays taxes promptly, which is always at the receiving end on account of populist schemes.

K. Manasa Sanvi,

Srikalahasti

If a party spends crores on freebies, why is the income tax department not asking for the source of income? The Election Commission and the income tax department need to reduce election expenditure and promote transparency in the funding of a political party.

Battula Srinivasa Rao,

Hyderabad

Politics thrives on the ambiguities of law. It may be unethical to select candidates on the basis of his caste, but it certainly is not illegal. Criminals can be given tickets so long as they have not been convicted by a court of law, but who cares for value-based politics? Paid news and crores for election expenses become a problem only if the law catches up with the wrongdoers. A coalition of parties with disparate ideologies may be unprincipled, but certainly not unlawful. After ruling continuously for nine years a party may suddenly “wake up” to the fact that two-thirds of Indians lack food security and rush through an ordinance to establish the right to food in a limited way. Indian politics is stranger than fiction.

V.N. Mukundarajan,

Thiruvananthapuram

It is an eye-opener on the need for businesslike and consumer-friendly governance. Nowadays red tape, delays, a plethora of rules, arrogance, corruption, the hasty promulgation of an ordinance with an eye on the general election, and offloading of public sector shares against the will of the employees are examples of governance being rendered ineffective. Frittering away of funds on populist schemes leaves little scope for resources to be funnelled into improvement of infrastructure and civil amenities.

As a wise man said, there is no free lunch on earth and everything which is apparently free is priced directly or indirectly. Freebies influence the voters, create unhealthy competition among the candidates during an election and, above all, force the government formed after an election to squander public money on non-developmental and self-centred purposes.

A.V. Ramanathan,

Chennai

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