Wednesday, July 17, 2024

People demand note for vote in Huzurabad in a mockery of election

  • Villagers sit in dharna, indulge in Rasta Roko for non-payment.
  • One vote fetches Rs 11K – 6 K from TRS and 5 K from BJP
  • Voters take from both the parties
  • It is a public secret, everyone is a party in foul game

In Huzurabad by-elections people are witnessing the ugly face of Indian democracy. Voters are demanding note for vote. The rumour has it that the party in power in the State, Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) has been distributing money at the rate of six thousand rupees per vote while BJP, the main opposition party, is giving five thousand rupees. The difference is only between Tweedledum and Tweedledee. If one party is ruling in the State, the other is in power at Centre. There is no dearth of money bags. Winning by hook or by crook is the motto for both the parties.

“What if you are a Sarpanch? How can you stop money provided by the party for distribution among us? Will you give money only to half of the voters in the village? What sin we committed? Why don’t you pay us? You won because we voted for you. We can also dethrone you the same way. What do you think of yourself?  Either you pay us or take back from others you have already paid. If you don’t oblige we will sit on the road and protest,” people of Papaiah palli village in Huzurabad mandal gave an ultimatum to their sarpanch on Thursday, a day after the campaign was stopped and distribution of money started. The police intervened but the angry people refused to budge and continued with their protest.

“What is our fault? Why don’t you pay us?  You pay only those who are with you, is it? We also attended TRS meetings. How can you deny us our due? KCR sent money for all of us. Why are you doing injustice for us,” a bunch of women in Gangaram village of Veenvanka mandal quarreled with local TRS leaders.  The same was the refrain at Sitampet village in Illandkunta mandal.

People at Pedapapaiahpalli village organized dharna in protest against non-payment of money. They also stopped vehicles on the road enforcing Rasta Roko.  They said while there are 2800 voters in the  village only 1600 of them have been paid. What about the rest of us, they demanded. They argued with the police personnel who were trying to persuade them. People of Ippal Narsingapur, Rangapur, Kandugula, Katrapalli also were in agitation mode for not being paid note for vote.

It may be noted that most of the ward members and sarpanches are from the TRS.  The BJP and the Congress don’t have many representatives in local bodies. This by-election could easily be the costliest in the country so far. It has become prestigious for both the TRS and the BJP. TRS’ chief and Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhara Rao (KCR), whose action against his ministerial colleague Etala Rajender and the subsequent resignation from the party and assembly by the latter caused the by-election, had taken it as a point of prestige. Etala who  won for six times and is very popular among the people of the constituency had joined the BJP and entered the fray as BJP candidate has more stakes in the by-election than KCR. The BJP is not very popular in the constituency. It is banking on the personal popularity of the former minister. But the money bags are supplied or supplemented by the saffron party. The distribution of currency notes is a public secret. Amount paid is also known to everyone. It is, of course, very important for the chief minister to win the bypoll.

That there is no substance in the democratic rhetoric indulged in by the elected autocrats is being proven in Huzurabad beyond doubt. If one calculates roughly, the amount spent in Huzurabad elections by both BJP and TRS comes to more than a thousand crore of rupees. That is the depth to which we have fallen as so called democracy. Whoever wins in tomorrow’s polling will not have any moral sanctity. Votes are purchased by distributing notes shamelessly in the presence of the police who routinely check all the vehicles that are entering Huzurabad constituency. There is no sincerity on the part of anyone – politicians, government officials, police and the voters. Everyone has a part in the foul play. What a mockery of elections!

K. Ramachandra Murthy
K. Ramachandra Murthy
Founder & Editor


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