The India Cables accessed by The Hindu through the WikiLeaks have exposed the cash-for-votes practice in two contexts — in the context of elections to Parliament and the State legislatures when parties bribe voters to win (March 16), and in the context of elected representatives paying their colleagues in Parliament to save the government of the day (March 17).
I am a Congress supporter and I firmly believed that the Manmohan Singh government won the crucial vote of confidence in 2008 because a majority of MPs believed the government was right in going ahead with the India-U.S. nuclear deal. But we now know that some of our representatives were paid. At least, the poor who accept money from political parties during the elections have a reason. Most of them do not get even two square meals a day. But what could be the possible reason for our MPs to accept money? What a shame on the citizens of the largest democracy!
Md. Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Malappuram
The Hindu-WikiLeaks revelations have effectively proved what many, particularly the Left parties and neutral political observers, have all along suspected — that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his government are only too glad to play second fiddle to the U.S. The Congress fraternity will now take refuge in all kinds of technicalities. It can even claim that the charge against the UPA government — that it paid cash as pay-offs during the confidence vote — cannot be proved. But the question is: do parliamentary misconduct and abuse of democratic institutions need to be proved in a court of law?
As for Dr. Singh, is mere financial probity enough to occupy a high public office? His apparent probity has become a licence for scamsters. Nothing less than his resignation will do.
Pravin S. Joshi, Pune
The Prime Minister's image as Mr. Clean is in tatters. There are no words to describe the common man's shock and dismay. No other Prime Minister has perhaps been so pro-American.
K.S. Jayatheertha, Bangalore
It is such a shame to learn that the UPA government cheated its own people to survive. Even more surprising is the U.S. interference in our internal matters. It seems our government and diplomats are keener on appeasing the U.S., rather than being accountable to and working for their people.
Arihant Biad, Hyderabad
The disclosure about the Congress resorting to pay-offs during the trust vote does not come as a surprise. It was suspected all along. It will not be surprising if the individuals concerned deny the happenings.
The matter is an eternal shame on both parties — one that used cash to secure votes and the other which accepted it. This and many other disclosures before it have cast serious doubts on Dr. Singh's integrity.
S. Ramaswamy, Chennai
A government defeating a no-trust motion using loads and loads of cash is the most devastating blow that can be dealt to democracy and constitutional propriety. The vulgar dance of money was performed on the floor of Parliament right under the nose of the Prime Minister, still described as an epitome of political decency and a person of unimpeachable character and unquestionable integrity. Could anything be more shameful?
T.S. Pattabhi Raman, Coimbatore
The Hindu report on the basis of the WikiLeaks disclosure reminds me of a similar exercise during the Narasimha Rao regime. The party which received money then is sharing power today in a State with the party that exposed the bribery scam. There seems to be no mechanism among political parties to deal with such practices. In the present instance, Parliament may be disrupted for a few days, a demand for a probe made and, slowly, the clouds will pass after some quarrels here and there.
C.P. Velayudhan Nair, Kochi
Siddharth Varadarajan's articles on the cables regarding cash for votes and India's Iran vote are damning confirmations and a vindication of the Left's stand that the Manmohan Singh government was following the U.S. dictates. It was only for its strident stand that he accused the Left parties of treating him like a bonded labour. The level to which Satish Sharma and his aide could stoop to satisfy the American authorities is deeply disturbing and demeaning.
Kasim Sait, Chennai
Whenever I read news about politicians purchasing votes, I tried to believe that it was only an allegation levelled by their opponents. But I could not dismiss P. Bala's letter (March 17) in a similar vein. Read together with the WikiLeaks revelation that the Congress assembled Rs.50 crore to Rs.60 crore in 2008 to purchase the support of MPs, the picture of the pathetic condition to which our democracy has been pushed becomes so vivid that we can't but believe it. How can political parties “assemble” such huge amounts in a nation where millions don't get even one decent meal?
Let us hope The Hindu's crusade for the greater common good and the will power of ordinary people like Bala from Madurai will bear fruit in the long run.
C.V. Sukumaran, Palakkad
When I read the report on the practice of paying for votes in South India, I immediately connected to it as I have myself seen volunteers of political parties wandering the streets, knocking at people's homes with the voters' list in one hand and money in the other.
Anusha Nandipati, Biccavole
All these days, we only read in newspapers about unaccounted cash being seized by revenue and police officials. Now it is clear how politicians bribe people to vote for them.
K. Hari Prasad, Coimbatore
The painstaking effort and diligence with which The Hindu has published the India Cables from WikiLeaks is not only commendable but also worth emulating. The insight into the hitherto unknown aspects of governance is nothing but fascinating.
Athul Das Prabhu, Bangalore
The Hindu has created a revolution of sorts. The report on the “pay-offs” clearly shows to what levels our politicians can stoop to cheat the public and loot this country. I am happy that the exposé sent shock waves across Parliament.
C.M. Varadarajan, Dehra Dun
The Hindu has exposed not only our politicians but also the working of U.S. embassies and consulates across the world. The embassies and consulates do exactly what their satellites do from above — spy.
Had Washington paid more attention to itself, it wouldn't have faced the financial crisis and the recession that it is facing now.
N. Manoharan, Coimbatore