For any political party, getting ready to do electoral battle involves huge and detailed preparation across several fronts. The All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) leadership has decided to factor in possibilities of poll-related violence in the upcoming assembly elections. Party leader and Barpeta MP Sirajuddin Ajmal has asked party workers to insure themselves by buying policies for Rs 716, which will get them Rs 2 lakh if they are injured and Rs 5 lakh for their family in case of death in poll-related violence. He has offered to pay the Rs 716 premium himself for those workers too poor to take this additiol ‘burden’ of party work. Ajmal has spoken about witnessing violence in the past during election time, and wants to be better prepared this time around. The BJP has meanwhile flayed Ajmal for ‘trying to project rival parties as violent’ while the Congress has condemned his comment as smacking of ‘intolerance’. Unfazed by the criticism, the AIUDF spokesperson has pointed to the killing of a party worker during the 2011 assembly polls, claiming that accidental insurance coverage is strictly according to Insurance Regulatory Development Authority (IRDA) guidelines as well as Election Commission (EC) rules. He does have a valid point, considering that poll-related violence is an unfortute trend that has come to stay with elections getting bigger and badder. It is the inevitable outcome of large injections of black money and muscle power into the electoral process, with goonda brigades, mafia elements and hired ultras getting into the act to deliver votes to political paymasters. Several states, particularly those affected by xalite violence, have also been going for insurance cover for officials and security personnel deployed on poll duty. If some political parties are beginning to follow suit to look after their own, who can blame them?
Insuring against poll violence