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The CM on Poll Expenses

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  14 May 2016 12:00 AM GMT

The Chief Minister of Assam raised a pertinent question about where the BJP had found the resources to spend so lavishly on the recently completed Assembly elections of Assam. This is an issue that troubles all law-abiding citizens all the time. Most people regard the excessive spending on elections (far beyond the amounts stipulated by the Election Commission) as not only a violation of the code of conduct for elections but also as an indication that voters have been bribed (either in cash or kind) to vote for a particular candidate or political party. This, of course, makes a mockery of democracy and the very device called election whereby we are required to elect our representatives and to abide by the basic requirement of democracy, mely the principle of majority. However, charity must begin at home, and Tarun Gogoi would do well to let people know how much his Congress party spent on each of its Legislative Assembly candidates on an average before wanting to have such details about rival political parties. There are at least two good reasons for raising this demand. One is that this time no other political party offered pre-election gifts to voters as openly as the Congress did. There were even attempts to requisition school buildings in order to make the gifts of blankets, mosquito nets, yarn for looms and so on without feeling cramped for space. Even cash was offered openly in some cases. All this has to be seen in the background of earlier elections where liquor had been used as an effective lubricant in tea garden areas by the Congress. Secondly, we now live in an age when almost every legislator and would be legislator is expected to be a crorepati, though no one stops to ask where the crores came from. And should the BJP be tickled enough to oblige and tell Gogoi how much was spent on an average on its candidates and where all the money came from, he too should come clean on such issues so that people are in a position to judge which political party spent more judiciously on the elections.

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