Presidency and Parliaments for sale ?

Any potential candidate for the coming US election need to raise at least $ 50 million to even be nominated. And that’s just the official limit….

Estimates say that some candidates will spend close to $ 100 million. And the two final candidates will have spent a minimum of $ 500 million each by the time the elections are over. How are they going to pay back the donors ? Or even their own investments ?
Except by doing political favours that can only lead to bussiness profits . More Haliburtons ?
And the 20 oddd candidates that will fail to get nominations from their parties will need to pay back a combined $ 1 to 2 billion to their backers in some form or the other.
How then do you expect a presidency that is completely untainted by bussiness interests ?
Not that Indian elections are any better. They are worse. It is said that upto 50% of the black money generated in India is for unofficial expenditure, not only during electioneering, but also to pay a premium to entice candidates that are known to ‘carry’ voters to your own party.
I saw this many years ago when after the emergency declared by Indira Gandhi, election were finally declared. I was a casual observer of a new party called the National Party that was formed by the film folk. I was amazed to see that when the tried to recruit potential candidates to stand on the National Party platform, the candidates always quoted a a substantial fee, which was the minimum the other party was offering ! And the idea behind the National Party was to create a party of no corruption. Needless to say the party never got of the ground once everyone became aware of the hard ground realities of an election in India.
Reminds me of something very interesting, which if anyone else knows about, could verify with more detail ? Apparently in major metropolis’s in India there is a premium atttached to becoming a Police Inspector, or even a lower rank at certain police stations. Where the the amounts of bribes that are offered are significantly higher than average. Part of the money goes to the retiring policement and a large percentage to the higher ranking police officials.
So a young man joining this police station has to shell out some money from his own pocket (or from his parents if he is a relatively new recruit) to take a job in a ‘high bribe’ station. He obviously has to recover this ‘investment’ with a substantial return on it. It’s not going to come from his meagre salary, is it ?
Nor from the member of Parliament’s salary,
nor from the Salary of the US President’s
Welcome to the real world,

7 thoughts on “Presidency and Parliaments for sale ?

  1. True Shekhar!
    I know of a person who stood first after all the TESTs for Sub Inspector post. He was asked to pay 2 lakhs! When he asked for a rebate, ‘they’ told him that it was the minimum they could do to a person who stood first “FIRST”!
    He presently is working for Black Commando’s!

  2. The list is very long….
    Customs, Excise, Income tax postings in metropolises. Even in public sector undertakings there are premium postings (like procurement and contracts) and punishment postings (like training and development).
    India could be a very vibrant economy if all the black money is brought into the system.
    The tragedy is, some guys who try to clean the system from within are alienated, victimised and “transferred”.
    I remember the case of Subir Raha, ex-CMD of ONGC, he single handedly changed the image of the Public sector giant from being a corrupt, inefficient organisation to a modern, professional outfit.
    He was not granted extension of his term as CMD on the grounds of “in-subordination”
    He remains an unsung Hero.

  3. That makes sad reading , Shekhar , but indeed thats the hard truth of world politics – we bash the indian politicians , but the evil devilry of some of the politicians in the ‘developed’ world beats imagination.
    PVN Rao a former Indian PMsaid ‘ Politics is eternal like time ‘ – not sure which kind of politics he meant when he said that – he was a literary giant and a poet – so i value his quote – but with everything ‘for sale ‘ – its not politics anymore – it is a social reality.
    Money as a reference frame of human existance – has many causes and effects – most importantly , breakdown of human ‘conscience’ – it is not easy to fill the big void – when we take spirituality or ethics out of the equation.
    What troubles me is – where do we go from here – with declining natural resources and increasing demand , money will not even be its peper’s worth when it comes to the death – a banana and a glass of water to a hungry man – is worth a billion.

  4. Well, in theory.. US and UK has limit on contributions and thus on election spending. But always law of the land provide workarounds.
    Interesting data on 2004 Presidential Election Contribution and Spending :
    OK first, atleast western-world have data(more organized) but in India its all assumption & projections.
    In UK, after recent scandal ‘favour-for-contribution’, had raised few interesting debates & ideas – State Funding for Parties. Yes I think, state funding for parties & candidates for top3 performer in voting % not by winning % will help to clean-up.
    we are still straggling to push our Economy reforms and with more than centuries as free country, US or UK is just debating about necessary reform in political system.
    Iam cannot see any significant change in Indian Political system (funding, candidates requirement,etc..) in near/short/long term.
    Hope things will change for better in my lifetime (fyi- Iam just 28 by-the-way. so its realistic to expect i think, assuming I don’t die soon..))

  5. Its quite strange how we accept and expect. We all know there are easily solvable problems. The media knows, the politicians do, everybody does. But all that the pillars of democracy are really doing is only expecting. The politicians are not even talking bout change..and the media isnt even asking them…my fear really is, we are all in the accepting mood of the chalta hai attitude. We really need to change that. This website is built on those ideas… r8?
    Was watching your interview on NDTV today. Gr8 site. was looking for something like this. wishing u all the luck..bbye

  6. India is slightly better, shekhar. You need not spend so much if you are a bahu-beti of some dynasty that has contoured the “history” of our country.
    You can be the presidential candidate if your last name, “shekhawat” for instance, matches with that of your opponent. If that is satisfied, then it doesnt matter whether you have had a bad credit record, even worse a fraudulent record.. You can still be the president!!
    One of the key elements in our constitution is “Equality” which i believe is upheld very well. You see, crooks as well as the righteous have equal opportunities in ruling the country. All of them have an equal opportunity to increase their odds, like the sub-inspector turning a commando mentioned in one of the first comments.
    Tell you shekhar, this is much more intriguing than any of your movies could get 😛

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