No, this hasn’t happened…not till now. But its occurrence is not impossible either.
‘Memsahib, I won’t be coming on the 27th of April’, exclaimed our house-maid.
‘Why not?’, asked my mom.
‘Memsahib! It’s the Election day! It is very important for me to cast the vote…’, and she continued to wash the dishes.
‘It’s equally important for everyone. Why is it more important to you?’, enquired my mom.
‘Memsahib! We will get paid to cast our votes… free food… we might also get free clothes.. . the truck will come to pick us up…’, and she went on to describe the perks she would get for casting a vote.
This isn’t uncommon and this is not limited to Calcutta or West Bengal.
In Delhi, more than a decade back, I remember going to a polling booth with my father. Our vehicle was stopped quite a distance away from the booth and there stood a truck, some distance away from us, and people were getting down from it. There, I saw a few people distributing small flags to everyone who got down from that truck. That flag bore the symbol of a political party.
A few years later, in Delhi again, I recall seeing numerous buses lined up outside a village. On the day of election, those buses ferried people from that village to a nearby booth. Each of those buses had the same banner put up on the front – the name of the party which had sponsored those buses.
Interestingly, in each of these incidents, a different party was involved. These and many other similar incidents are known to each one of us.
While, we may say that the ferrying of people is still acceptable but, is paying them to cast their vote justified? You might have already heard much about booth capturing, false voter IDs, multiple votes etc. Infact,paying the voters to cast vote in the party’s favour is very much the same. What is the whole point of elections and voting if they are all rigged anyway!? As it is, most politicians are expert in fooling people by making false promises, and now, with this they simply go a step ahead.
With all of this already into play, I’m amazed it took our country so long to get an 84% voter turnout in Assembly Elections. (On the records, there was Record 84.11 % turnout in first phase of West Bengal assembly elections). So we wait till it gets to 99% in the very same way or do something about it!!? What will you choose?
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99.99% Voter Turnout in Assembly Elections http://wp.me/pinhe-f9
— Prakhar (@genobz) April 26, 2011
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