TODAY -

The Business of Elections in Manipur: an attempt at analysis

Dr Nabakishor Haobijam *



Life on Highway 39
People's Campaign for Assembly Election 2012, Manipur



Being a professional quite busy with my own world of work is a boon in Manipur. However certain happenings in my beloved state, makes me concern and awaken myself from my own cocoon. So today,I want to share a personal perspective on the business of elections as it is happening in Manipur.

I confess the following write up is an attempt at analysis of the happenings, especially in context of our elections, electorates and the candidates, political parties. I am also an active member in People's Campaign for Assemble Election, initiated by Dr Bimol Akoijam, which has currently presence in Facebook and a website.

###Disclaimer: Majority of the "data" discussed here are guestimates, which are resourced from reliable first-hand accounts, public heresay, reliable web based databanks. I don't claim a 100% accuracy. However the overt picture, i.e the broader context of the analysis, follows a reliable logic. Its upto the members discretion to interpret the "quality of the analysis". And other elections like gram panchayat, municipal etc are not taken into considerations here.###

Introduction

Elections in Manipur have undergone an evolution (or devolution?) in the process of electioneering as far as wooing of the voters is concerned. It's quite common knowledge that pay-for-vote has progressed into such complex business, that now the barter system is even mature for "bargaining" as a sales pitch, both by the electorate and the candidate. The one time ?simplistic nature of "haggling" has now even become a process for money laundering. Past experience has highlighted that this is a pan-India phenomenon, and not only restricted to Manipur. Some optimist would even claim that the "disease" is not critical in Manipur, like in some of the worst states of India.

The core question which a critic mind will ask is: Why? The answer is not simple. At one spectrum it may be as simple as a process of an individual's greed, asking a return for something he knows is valuable, coveted by the standing candidate, and at the other end of the spectrum it can be a complex amalgamation of processes involving money laundering, power mongering, corruption of ideals, nepotism etc etc. The members are free to interpret this in their own way.

Background

Lets acquaint ourselves with some facts and guestimate of the following:

*Per capita income of Manipur ~Rs 23000
*Total adult franchisee: ~18 lacs
*Broadly dividing the population into three (according to income), we can have
1. Low income group
2. mid income group
3.High income group.

Majority of the population falls under the low income group, with a fair chunk in the mid group. The high income group accounts less than 20% population. The numbers of persons with huge ancestral assets running into crores of rupees are few, may even be counted by fingers!!!

*The average population in a constituency is ~25K


Analysis: Taking into consideration that , a)50% or majority of the votes is required for being elected
b)minimum 2 candidates may stand contesting and may average 3-4 when more, in a constituency
c)the average turn out of voting usually falls in range of >50% upto 80-95%,
the probable number of votes for a candidate to be declared elected may fall in the range of 10K to 12K when there are 2 candidates, or even 6K to 9K when there are more than 2 candidates (with an estimated similar distribution) in the constituencies.


A very rough estimates then follows that a contesting candidate needs to "harvest" a minimum vote of 6-9K and maximum of 12-15K of votes.

So when a candidate targets this population, then he may need to incur a "loss" of Rs 30 lacs to 75 lacs if he "pays" Rs 500 to the voters. This values changes to Rs 60 lacs to Rs 1.5 crores if he pays Rs 1000.

There can be additional cost for campaigning which can probably run into ~50lacs to 1 crore. So in total a standing candidate will have to have Rs 2-3 crores in hand before standing an election. This guestimate value may be actually less, as there can be many variations of bribery for votes. In reality the expenses may even run into 10-20 crores.

Now the question that can be asked is among the income groups (mentioned above) can these candidates fall? Not surely the low and mid income group. Then, who among the high income group? Considering the amount of money involved, which has a high risk of being lost, very few among the group would have the economic "temerity".

A likely profile of such persons will be:
a) Very rich businessman
b) A special contractor/ big contractor
c) A professional with big bank balance
d) An NGO with huge "expendable" funding
e) A sitting MLA/Minister with "percentage" balance.
f) A person with black money (from smuggling heroin, ganja , ephedrine etcetc)
g) A person with huge ancestral assets

A less likely profile of such persons will be:
a) A poor but honest man
b) A teacher /doctor/engineer etc with honest earning (who will fall into low/mid income group)
c) A social worker working earnestly (as a consequence of non-personal use of funds )
d) A farmer/rickshaw driver/ a small businessman/ima-potyonbietc
e) An unemployed honest educated youth
f) etc

This then interprets that those who are able to stand election may have a perspective of the electoral process as "business transaction" investment in, dividends out.i.e a strong vested interest other than public service. Taking into considerations the Political parties and partiesfunds, such "pay for vote" by the party tantamount to a consortium doing the "business transcation".

Competition among candidates/parties may accelerate the expenses. This phenomenon carries a high risk of money laundering. And this is especially true in Manipur, where the local avenues are considered less. These black monies can be commonly money from smuggling, but other sources are also possible.recently commission/cuts from national/state developmental projects are sources.

Now comes an interesting part of questions: What generates this pressure of "pay for vote"? The obvious answer will be competition among the candidates to woo the voters. A more critical component of this pressure is the "acceptance/greed" of the voter. This means that the process is feeded by the candidate and the voters in equal measures!

Hypothetically, it's a personal opinion; IF THE VOTERS REFUSES TO TAKE MONEY OR ANY OTHER FORM OF "BRIBERY" FOR VOTES, the "business" aspect of the electoral process will be almost negligent!!! However the competition among the candidates will still sustain, but may get directed to a more idealistic "issue base/quality service" angle:
*the heavy burden of losing Rs 2-10 crores will be eliminated
*lesser monetary investment then diverts the business transection aspect.
*candidates have to still woo voters performance and accountability will play major role.
*public gets the dividends of efficient governance
*persons with honest income may feel less challenged to stand election.

We voters have the "power" to change the way the election is fought. Individually there may be obstacles, bordering even threats, while exercising our right to vote. But a streamlined public mindset, lays a strong ambience which reduces such threats. LETS NOT TAKE MONEY OR ANY BRIBE TO SELL OUR VOTES. LETS INVEST IN THIS SHORT TERM LOSS FOR A LONG TERM GAIN.

A very important critical part as far as to bring the practical change:
Who among the population should/could take the moral responsibility?.....i.e. what should be the target population?

The answer lies with the educated, frustrated, willing to change, youths of this state. The reasons are:
1. we, youths, are supposedly more educated, which implies a better understanding of the democratic principles.
2. Our older generations have lived their life. We are/are yet to live our life to the fullest. Do we surrender to a frustrated or wasted life or make a small but corrective step?
3. Worldover changes/revolutions were brought by youths.....or students to be more precise.
4. The number of educated students staying out Manipur may range to 1-2 lacs. If these people don't waste their votes, things can be affected.
5. In future, some among todays youth will come into the fray of politics. Doesn't a corrected conditioned principle hold the potential for "effectiveness"?
6. The older generation of voters will be very hard to change.....in fact I blame them for most of our mess now!
7. Elections has been won by even margins of votes in tens. So a clean voter do still have power to affect change......its only that the votes should not be wasted.
8. We desperately need issue base politics changeover....who understand this better, if not our educated youths/students? Don't they know that UNEMPLOYMENT which will/is reflecting in their life is integrated with good/bad governance which related with how we choose/vote our representatives?
9. The geopolitical and economic pressures our stare is/will face are grasped better by youths, who now have started attuning to global way if thinking....we now know we can't remain isolated .
10. We have the power to make atleastan older generation family member understand these dynamics.

The next important question is :

ARE THE YOUTHS/STUDENTS OF MANIPUR WILLING TO DO THIS? DO THEY HAVE IN THEM TO BRING A REVOLUTION? OR ARE THEY GUTLESS SPECTATORS WILLING TO BE STILL PART OF THS WRONGS IN OUR SOCIETY? WHEN WILL THEY STAND UP? IF THEY DON'T , WHOM DO THEY THINK WILL DO THEIR RESPONSIBILITIES?....NON MANIPURIS? MAYANGS?

If this is not a challenge to them, what else could be?


* Dr Nabakishor Haobijam wrote this article for e-pao.net
The writer is a Consultant Surgeon
This article was posted on December 22, 2011.



* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of e-pao.net. We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.


LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • Great June Uprising @Kekrupat #2 : Gallery
  • Yoga Day: Celebrating Your Health
  • Chak-hao - black gold of Manipur
  • In response to the culture of shaming
  • 3rd Documentor Imphal
  • 4th International Day of Yoga by AR
  • Appeals for Resolution of MU Crisis
  • Recommendation to control Flood damages
  • International Yoga Day at Loktak PS
  • After Flood : Introspection about the future
  • MUSU & JAC : Hot issues before the Govt
  • Zeliangrong orphaned by Nationalism #2
  • General Thangal Eco Park : Gallery
  • Letter to President on Crisis at MU
  • Precision medicine & life sciences
  • Black topping-can ground leveling be behind
  • Condemns security force intrusion in MU
  • Developer wanted at LMP, Konjeng Leikai
  • AR gears up for International Yoga Day
  • NPF rejoinder to NDPP : 20 June
  • Rejoinder by Dr. Shurhozelie : 20 June
  • For a little bit more
  • Deadline of 5 days time set : MU crisis
  • Garlic Festival @Ukhrul #4 :: Gallery
  • Flood in Imphal [14 June] #3 : Gallery
  • Inungshi, Gaichanglungliu :: eMing
  • Taking 'Hau' Music to Rest of World
  • Kakching bags cleanest city in NE Award
  • JRF (Junior Research Fellow) at IBSD
  • Oxfam India launches emergency response
  • VC, MU - Resign immediately :: MUTA
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand :: Timeline
  • Translation of ancient Manipur texts begin
  • Pre Yoga Capsule organized
  • NDPP Rejoinder on 19 June
  • NPF Youth Wing Rejoinder on 19 June
  • Favouring digital govt : still a Virtual dream
  • June 18 Anniv : Consult all stakeholders
  • Great June Uprising @Kekrupat #1 : Gallery
  • Binota Thokchom at BRICS Young Scientist
  • The Merger of Manipur
  • Improving school management in Manipur
  • Pros & cons of screening tests
  • NPF Rejoinder on 18th June
  • Nagaland CM statement on Aboi ambush
  • June 18 significance: Still living on prayer
  • Need to identify one's strength
  • 18 Immortal Souls Remembered : Flash
  • The Great June Uprising : Read all about it
  • The Pitfalls of Identity Politics
  • Naga Peace Process :: News Timeline
  • All his sons :: Poem
  • Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016
  • Eid bring cheer in flood hit areas
  • Willong Khullen, Maram #1 : Gallery
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • Defending the environmental defenders
  • Delusion in self - cause of worry
  • Road to Russia: FIFA World Cup
  • It must be love :: Poem
  • 'Future of Naga people is bleak'
  • Give a miss call to Amnesty
  • 'Naga area' bandh on June 18
  • Dzuko valley #4 :: 360 Panorama View
  • Flood in Imphal [14 June] #2 : Gallery
  • Id-Ul-Fitr Festival
  • Letter to PM Modi on Naga Talks
  • Greetings on Eid-Ul-Fitr
  • Rejoinder to NPF statement
  • Rejoinder to Nagaland Chief Minister
  • Flood relief continue on 3rd day
  • India-Vietnam Youth Dialogue 2018
  • MU debacle: Why would it be left unnoticed
  • Spirit of World Cup : Brazil to Russia
  • NEC to come under Home Ministry
  • Manipur NGO hosts summit on LGBTQ
  • Flood in Imphal [14 June] #1 : Gallery
  • Women Struggle in Self-Determination
  • 14 June- World Blood Donor Day
  • Naga Integration not possible- NPF react
  • Naga Integration is not possible- CM Rio
  • Relief work in flood affected areas
  • A day which keeps our spirit alive
  • Ranked 320 in the country : MU
  • Flood in Imphal [13 June] #2 : Gallery
  • Sovereignty Struggles in Northeast #5
  • Be alert: It's admission time
  • Yin and Yang
  • Watermelon beauty benefits
  • Temp accommodation for Aligarh students
  • Wrath of Mother Nature: Why challenge..
  • 60 pc is no longer first class : 95 pc
  • Flood in Imphal [13 June] #1 : Gallery
  • Sanamahi Laihui & Sanamahi Laining
  • Kuhi- Essential plant for Nungbi pottery
  • Climate justice is integral to development
  • The bridge :: Poem
  • Lt S Vijaya Devi felicitated
  • Then : Indifferent :: Now : Hyper sensitive
  • Phumdigi Tantha : Dance Drama : Gallery
  • Grief at Xavier Rutsa's demise
  • Modi's India: A descend into Ochlocracy
  • The Philippine Experience
  • Cry of a Dying River #33 :: Poem
  • Community Iftar at Moijing, Cachar
  • Candle Light at DU over Assam lynching
  • Demand replacement of Manipur Univ VC
  • The Tragedy of Higher education
  • Unacceptable points spelt out
  • Teinem Luira Phanit @Ukhrul #3: Gallery
  • RPL-PMKVY trainees @Hojai : Gallery
  • Manipur Sports University in UP ?
  • Coloniality of the Postcolonial
  • Yellow leaves in the autumn :: Poem
  • Prof N Irabanta-distinguished academician
  • Leadership matters
  • Artificial turf for budding talents
  • 2 municipal bodies in NE awarded
  • Who is Arambam Somorendra ?
  • Manglandasu Nang - OST :: e-pao Radio
  • Shirock 2018 - Shirui Lily Fest #3 : Gallery
  • Linthoi's "The Tales of Kanglei Throne" #2
  • Grass root challenge- Education in hills
  • Earth does not belong to us...
  • Sita Mata as test-tube baby
  • What happen to VIP Culture Mr. CM
  • Merchants of education
  • Laitonjam Rajnikanta : Profile
  • A blessing to see :: Poem
  • Sovereignty Struggles in Northeast #4
  • Difference between Hinduism & Hindutva
  • How to choose the perfect fragrance
  • Iftaar party at Lilong
  • Bitter truth of Manipuri society
  • MU, NSU, IGNTU : Students at the centre
  • Amuktang-Ga Haikho #1 : eRang
  • Sangai Veterans' Football #2 : Gallery
  • Pony : A Cavalry Horse Par Excellence #2
  • Issues that keep Manipur burning
  • Cry of a Dying River - 32 :: Poem
  • CM & AR interaction with villagers
  • Certification of PMKVY trainees of Hojai
  • Christian appeals for Peace in Shillong
  • How safe are our women?
  • Riders put up by JAC for talk
  • Khangkhui Cave in Ukhrul #3 : Gallery
  • Pluralism, Democracy & Ethnic Relation #2
  • Irom Sharmila meets with Mehbooba Mufti
  • JRF @ Mizoram University (Biotechnology)
  • Tobacco and heart disease
  • Understanding SOWA - RIGPA #2
  • Campaign "to End Child Sexual Abuse"
  • Implementation of 7th Pay
  • Indigenous street vendor sing gi wafam
  • The crumbling Manipur University
  • Kang Tournament @ Yaiskul : Gallery
  • Zeliangrong orphaned by Nationalism #1
  • A rainy night :: Poem
  • HSLC Exam is the start! What next?
  • 1528 cases of fake encounter
  • Linthoi's "The Tales of Kanglei Throne" #1
  • Handloom Weaver @Bishnupur : Gallery
  • Shirock 2018 - Shirui Lily Fest #2 : Gallery
  • Hinduism in Manipur : Political Perspective
  • All the World and his Wife :: Poem
  • Tribal Cultural Festival #1 : Gallery
  • Women in CCpur turn to self-help groups
  • Purul Paoki Wrestling : Gallery
  • Sangai Veterans' Football #1 : Gallery
  • Khangminashi IV (Lecture) : Report
  • Seminar at MU - Hinduism in Manipur'
  • Evolution of The Meetei State
  • Heartbreak at Ukhrul: Unfolding Shirock
  • State Level Khurpui-Lam Festival: Gallery
  • June Calendar for Year 2018 :: Tools
  • School Girls Basketball #2 : Gallery
  • Where is Manipur....???
  • 'Manipur' in Google maps : Gallery
  • The Killing Fields - 2013-18 : News Timeline
  • Mama Poktabi :: Funga Wari
  • Veterans Football Tournament #2 : Gallery
  • Shirock 2018 - Shirui Lily Fest #1 : Gallery
  • Sougrakpam Vijaya makes history sailing...
  • Arunachali unfurled Salai Taret at Mt Everest
  • Panthoiba: 2nd Rank- class XII, Uttarkhand
  • Ras Leela @JNMDA Day : Gallery
  • HSLC 208 Exam Toppers : Gallery
  • HSLC 2018 :: Toppers Listing
  • HSLC 2018 :: Check Result
  • HSLC :: Statistical/Subject Topper
  • HSLC 2018 :: External
  • Poumai Purul Hiimai Paoki #2 : Gallery
  • Kakching Garden :: 360 Panorama View
  • Folk Dance Festival #5 : Gallery
  • Aerial view from Chingmeirong : Gallery
  • Curtain Raising- Sangai Fest 2017: Gallery
  • Lainingthou Lai Lam thopka #2 : Gallery
  • Re-visiting Khangkhui caves in Ukhrul
  • Gardening @Ema Keithel #2: Gallery
  • Front Page Photo 2018 #2: Gallery
  • Pakhangba Cheng Hongba #2 : Gallery
  • Steelheart @ Shirock , Ukhrul #3 : Gallery
  • A. Halim Chowdhury: A Profile
  • Class XII Exam Toppers : Gallery
  • Class XII Result : Science Toppers
  • Class XII Result : Arts Toppers
  • Class XII Result : Commerce Toppers
  • HSE Result 2018 : District Wise
  • HSE Result 2018 : Highest Marks
  • HSE Result 2018 : Science Stream
  • HSE Result 2018 : Arts Stream
  • HSE Result 2018 : Commerce Stream
  • Temples of Manipur : Gallery
  • Recipients of Akademi Awards for 2014
  • Old Manipuri Movie #1 :: eRang Classic
  • SPONSORED ADS