LEGISLATORS ENDORSE DISTRIBUTION OF MONEY DURING POLLS by Nisser Dias

4th Oct 2010: The recent fisticuffs between two Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) members and legislators of the Goa Assembly namely Jose Philip D’souza and Mickky Pacheco let the cat out of the bag that our politicians win elections basically with money power.
I will not delve into the details of Mickky visiting Vasco as nobody can stop a citizen from travelling in his own country lest within the state itself. But at the same time the Benaulim MLA should have exercised restraint as a complaint of him trying to induce and influence voters to cast their franchise against the candidates fielded by the Vasco MLA was already filed with the party bosses. At the same time that does not give a right to the Revenue minister to take law into his hands, minister he surely is that he is not above the law.
Chief minister Digambar Kamat instead of hiding behind statements like, ‘it is an internal matter of the NCP’ should have divested the Jose Philip D’souza of his ministerial berth, but knowing our chief minister who will do anything to cling on to his chair and inculcating discipline among his cabinet colleagues is the last thing on his mind. And the worst has been the attitude of the so called law keepers or in common parlance the police. In case of cross complaints police immediately apply section 151 (preventive arrest) and arrest both parties but in this surprisingly the police ignored the usual trend.
Be that as it may, it is not that the general public was ignorant about this fact that distribution of money plays a big role in winning elections, but when it comes from the horses’ mouth, even the shadow of doubt is erased from the public mind. And this was endorsed by the Revenue minister of the state Jose Philip D’souza when he claimed that his supported manhandled or assaulted the former Tourism minister and Benaulim MLA Mickky Pacheco for allegedly distributing money to voters to cast their franchise against candidates fielded by D’souza for the civic polls.
In almost every election be it the panchayat, municipalities, corporation, assembly or parliamentary money plays a big role in changing the tide and those candidates who spend the most general get elected or taste victory. Infact one of the legislators quipped to his supporters immediately after his success at the last assembly elections that he was not victorious because his constituents voted for him but because he bought their votes. And the repercussion of buying votes is well known these same elected representatives be it the panchayat members or the councillors or the MLAs or the parliamentarians try to recover the money spent on elections and also make more money hook or by crook to contest future election.
Can we forget the recent Commonwealth Games or the Adarsh housing society scams or can we forget the cash for question scam in the parliament or the cash for library imbursement scam. Or have we forgotten the financial scam related to clearing of the garbage at Sonsoddo and how can we forget the Excise scam and drug scam. In Goa specially one can name a legislator and immediately a scam pops up.
But the interesting fact is that the losing candidate or political parties’ failing to clinch a victory always resort to one liners such as, ‘we lost due to money and muscle power’. And leader of opposition Manohar Parrikar uses it so often that even the media persons know what his retort will be after a bad election. It is not that the BJP does not use money power, they also do, infact all the political parties have created reserve funds to be spent on exigencies during elections. But till date the norm to blame the other political party for using money and muscle power but in the case of the Jose Philip D’souza and Mickky Pacheco both are from the same party.
It seems that the Benaulim legislator has an axe to grind against his colleague from Vasco. Immediately after the general assembly election 2007, Pacheco got himself nominated as the leader of the legislative wing of NCP in the Assembly. This did not go well with the party leaders and nominated Jose Philip. Subsequently early last year, Mickky organized an impressive party meeting at Betalbatim, however this too did not impress national leaders present at the meeting and early this year again selected Vasco MLA to head the NCP unit in Goa as its president. And the final nail in his coffin was when Pacheco was alleged linked to his close friend Nadia’s death and subsequently in the money laundering scandal, Revenue minister quipped that one MLA does not make a difference to his party and Mickky is free to leave the party. And knowing Mickky, who is not the forgiving type tried to get back at his party colleague during the civic polls and got assaulted.
That is besides the point but what has been established by the fracas between the two politicians is that money is being distributed by the politicians during elections. Now this has direct connection with the high rate of corruption in the state and the country. Once a politician gets elected he sees an opportunity to make easy money and exploits it to the hilt and for those who are inducted in the cabinet as ministers, the scope to accumulate ill-gotten wealth is much higher. And part of this money is ploughed back to win subsequent elections and also to increase vote bank and power base by fielding and financing candidates for self governing bodies.
Though the Election Commission of India has brought in lot of reforms and stringent measures to curtail the use of money during election, veteran politicians formulate ways to circumvent it and spend much more money than authorized by the ECI. Even complaints by one political party against the other is treated as political rivalry complaints and thorough investigations are not carried out. Infact we yet to see a candidate or a political party being penalized for use of money. But in the present case it is an intra-party allegations wherein one colleagues is accusing the other of distributing money to defeat his candidates for civic polls. This is a lot of fodder for the state election commission to look into and present before the public the true picture.

1 comments:

Robert, Business Bay, Dubai said...

Nisser has descripted the use of money in elections very well. This trend has been going on in Goa for a long time and has become a practice. If the ratol mouse was starving then from where did the money come to him to do such acts? People will be sure in the future that these doles will be distributed for free wherever the mouse will contest.

Blaming game by the losing candidate is there to stay, to confuse and gain political mileage. As long as these challis chors are in the political fray, these things are there to stay. For some crumb suckers, elections means serious business.

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